Health Language Services


Policy Regarding the Sharing of Translations

The Health Translation Unit (HTU) was set up in March 1995. The unit is managed by the  Contract Interpreters, Health Translations Unit, Research & Training Manager. The Manager liaises between those requesting translations and the translator and oversees the entire translation process. The Translation Unit Manager can be contacted on (02) 8738 6805. Each translation is worked on by two qualified translators. One translates the document, then it is checked by another independent translator. This ensures accuracy in grammar, spelling and in the translation of the written word. Translators are expected to know their community, and keep up to date with medical and other technical language, ensuring quality translations. The HTU can provide the following services:

  • Free translation service to SWSLHD services for documents directly related to individual patient care.
  • A competitively priced service for other translations.
  • Checking and proofreading of translated documents prepared by NAATI accredited translators.
  • Supply copies of translated materials from our catalogue.

Languages Available

The HTU can organise translations in any language, including minority and emerging languages.

How long will it take and how much will it cost?

  • The timeframe is negotiated with the client to meet their needs.
  • The cost is based on the number of words in the document. There is a minimum charge based on 100 words.
  • A formal quote will be provided free of charge when your document is submitted for translation.
  • A 24-48 hour service can be arranged for some documents-a surcharge of 50% may apply.
  • HLS does not provide funding for translations.

How to prepare your document for translation

Before you send a document to be translated, you should:
  • Check if the material has been translated or developed by checking on the Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) Online Catalogue
  • Consider if the project/program is applicable state-wide? If yes, check if MHCS will support the project.
  • Does it require the development of a multilingual resource (as opposed to a direct translation)? If yes, please consult with multicultural health staff about developing it in consultation with targeted community groups.

My document is now ready to be translated

After reading about how to prepare your document, send your document and the completed forms to the HTU preferably electronically or by either mail or fax: 8738 6090. Alternately contact HTU Manager on 8738 6805. If your translation is subject to charge, you will be sent a formal quote. Please return the signed and approved for payment quote to the HTU, so translation work can begin. When you send your document to the Health Translation Unit, if nothing is specified, then:

  • English subtitles will appear under translated titles and section headings. This will help staff who do not read that language to know what the document is, and navigate through it.
  • Names of organisations, departments, occupations, etc will be translated and will appear after the translation in English the first time they appear in the document, e.g.:
    Clinica de Medicina Pediatrica de la Comunidad
    (Community Paediatric Medical Clinic).
  • Dated.
All translations are subject to Copyright. For more information about copyright, follow the link to the Australian Copyright Council.

Talking Pictures

Talking Pictures is a generic set of translated words and pictures that may assist with BASIC communication between patients and ward staff.

Go to Talking Pictures

Other information you need to be aware of

If the translation is funded by NSW Health and is suitable for state-wide use, then details of translations are submitted to the NSW Multicultural Health Communication (MCHC) for inclusion in their Catalogue Online of NSW Multilingual Health Resources. You are responsible for the accuracy of the document, and may be asked to review it on an occasional basis to ensure the material is timely and still accurate.

On a lighter note!

Mistranslations - Why I should have my document translated by a professional translator?

Contact Information

Contract Interpreters, Health Translations Unit, Research & Training Manager, phone: 9738 6805 or email to Contract Interpreters, Health Translations Unit, Research & Training Manager for further information about translations, or send requests to:

Health Translation Unit
PO Box 7103

© 2012 South Western Sydney Local Health District
Page last updated: 03 June, 2015
NSW Ministry of Health |   SWSLHD on YouTube   SWSLHD on Facebook
Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Accessibility | Sitemap