The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Using Interpreters


“You must make take reasonable steps to meet people's language and communication needs, providing, wherever possible, assistance to those who need help to communicate their own or other people's needs” The Code (NMC 2015)

Family members and friends should not be used as interpreters.

The interpreting services are temporarily being provided by Leeds City Council for face to face interpreters and Language Line for telephone interpreters.  Language Line: 0845 310 9900  

Provision of British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreting services is through the Leeds Society for Deaf and Blind People. Telephone 0113 2469990 to arrange a BSL interpreter. The Leeds Society is able to provide other translation or interpreting services for deaf and blind patients. Please contact them with your query.

Olgas labour

This short film demonstrates how understanding and consent can be compromised when an interpreter is not used

Using Interpreters in Maternity Care

This short film demonstrates best practice in using interpreters

Before the appointment

  • Make sure you have correctly identified the language, dialect and region of the country of origin of the woman before making a booking.
  • Determine whether the women would be comfortable with a male interpreter or female only.
  • Book your interpreter in advance by electronic request/fax/telephone to Language Link.
  • Language Line can be used to inform a woman of an appointment if she is not present with you.

During the appointment

  • Introduce yourself and the interpeter, explain your roles and confidentiality.
  • Always speak directly to the woman in the first person.
  • Try not to use jargon or too much medical terminology.
  • Speak in short sessions to allow opportunities for interpreting. If you talk for too long the interpreter may not be able to remember all the information to translate.
  • Allow time for and encourage clarification and questions.

After the appointment

  • Always record the use of an interpreter including the interpreter's name in the notes.
  • Sign the interpreter's paperwork.
  • Book an interpreter for the next appointment, if required.
  • Offer to debrief the interpreter.