Translation & Interpreters

The population of the UK is diverse and whilst many people who do not have spoken English as their first language have a good grasp of day to day English, in matters where social workers have become involved it is important that there is complete understanding of what is going on by the child and those around them. This page looks at interpreting services and how to access them.

The complexity of the work undertaken by Social Care means that if interpreting services are not used then children and their families where spoken English is not their first language can easily be discriminated against.

This not only includes people of other nationalities, but those who are deaf and therefore reliant on sign language to communicate.

No child under 16 years old will be used to interpret or sign, except in extreme emergencies. In such circumstances the use of the child should be kept to the minimum and the services of an interpreter/signer will be sought as soon as possible.

Family members should also not be used to interpret or sign.  By using official interpreters / signers you are then sure that they are independent of the family and will translate exactly what is said by you and to you.

Arrangements must also be made for all documents and information to be translated into a format which the child and their family can understand.

Staff should never make assumptions about the language that a person speaks based on where they come from (e.g. a person from Spain my speak Portuguese and not Spanish) but allow the person to identify their own language using the relevant signs and information leaflets available to staff.


How do I book an interpreter?

Please see HSSD, Corporate Procedure, Requesting Interpreters and Translators COR010 which is available on Poliplus

Where documents are translated for meetings, this should be done in advance of the meeting so as to allow time for the information to be considered by the person the document is translated for.


Complaints about translation services

Complaints by service users will be followed up in line with the HSSD Policy, Dealing with Complaints G107 which is available on Poliplus.