According to The Scotsman, the number of hours spent translating health information into Polish by the NHS has soared taking up nearly 13,000 hours of translation.
Polish speakers are now in fact the largest minority group in Edinburgh with over 8,000 Poles living within the capital. The growing number of Polish residents and demand for public services provided in the Polish language has led to over £700,000 of expenditure on translation services by health chiefs. In contrast, only £500,000 was spent on Polish translation services in 2008 and NHS Lothian say the increase is due to the higher usage of health services amongst non-English speakers.
Specialised interpreters are often needed during health visits, even if the patient is competent in English. The complexity of a diagnosis and the language used means that many patients need interpreters present for reassurance and a solid understanding of what is going on. Global Voices is an experienced company when it comes to medical interpretation. It is the largest supplier of interpreters to NHS Forth Valley and surrounding areas. Global Voices has also noticed a trend developing in Central Scotland over the last couple of years where Polish interpreters are often the most in demand when it comes to interpreting for public and health services.
The Scotsman also states that of the 26,100 hours spent face-to-face interpreting in NHS Lothian, 12,490 were for Polish with Chinese second most popular and then Arabic, Turkish, Bengali, Portuguese and Russian interpreters also being well used.
Another high usage area was for sign language experts with NHS Lothian using up 1,300 hours of BSL interpretation.
With recent public spending cuts announced, the public sector and the NHS could feel a strain when it comes to the supply of translation and interpretation services to provide a constant level of care to non-English speaking residents.
Global Voices has recognised this situation and has developed an innovative technology based solution to reduce translation and interpretation costs within the NHS and public sector. Video Interpretation can replace face-to-face interpretation by providing a secure and reliable video link to a specialised interpreter. This not only cuts down on the costs incurred on travelling and hourly rates, but is an OD (On-Demand) service so interpreters are available at a click of a button 24 hours a day 365 days a year!
Global Voices is the first in the UK to develop Video Interpretation and it is currently being trialled within Public Sector organisations.