Translation & Interpretation


How to access an interpreter

ITS office opening hours:

Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm
Saturday-Sunday: 9am-5pm

If you need an interpreter outside of the above hours, please phone the NHS Lothian Switchboard who can connect you to the 24/7/365 telephone interpreting service OR ask Switchboard to connect you to local interpreting agencies who can send face-to-face interpreters for emergencies (including British Sign Language for deaf patients).


Please let us know if you need to cancel an interpreter as they can be allocated to another appointment.
To process a face-to-face booking, please note that we need the following information:

  • appointment date, time and location
  • expected duration (**please remember to book double appointments as everything needs to be interpreted**),
  • patient's DOB, initials and gender
  • language required (please be as specific as possible e.g. Chinese Cantonese, Arabic for Syrian patient, Latvian speaker but also speaks Russian)
  • a point of contact (name and contact details)
  • any other relevant details (e.g. name of the doctor, male interpreter required, nature of appointment if known, or if it is a sensitive appointment) so that the most suitable interpreter can be arranged and so that interpreters can best prepare for the appointment

Arranging telephone interpreting

If appropriate, always consider the telephone interpreting service as your first option for non-complex appointments. It is much quicker and easier to arrange as no booking is required (on-demand service), and it also promotes anonymity as the telephone interpreters are very seldom Lothian-based.