Language Interpretation Services

Nova Scotia Interpreting Services 1-902-425-5532

Helpful tips when utilizing language interpretation services

When the service should be used:

  • When a client presents a language barrier that will affect the quality of service delivery.
  • In non-emergency situations, the service is best utilized during business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).  However, in urgent /after hours situations, interpretation services are available, dispatched, and provided after hours and on statutory for an additional charge to Health PEI.
  • In urgent situations, the reality is that the response is not immediate.  It will take a few minutes for Nova Scotia Interpreting Service (NSIS) to identify, match, and link the interpreter to the service provider/client.
  • When the service provider is aware of the need for interpretation in advance, that person contacts NSIS (preferably days ahead of the actual client appointment) to schedule interpreter support.  This approach helps avoid the wait time needed to match the client to the interpreter.
  • When the service provider is challenged to communicate details of an upcoming appointment with the client. For example, the person responsible for booking an appointment works with the interpreting service to make the call to the client to book an appointment.

How the service is used:

  • The process works best when there is a speaker phone in the room so that the service provider is aware of the effectiveness of communication with the client.  
  • It is important to speak slowly and in short sentences during the call, if the service provider rushes through the conversation it will be challenging for the interpreter to do their job well.
  • It is important to exercise patience.  The call is not going to take the same amount of time as a regular two-way conversation.
  • Use the language chart to identify the particular language or dialect of the patient.
  • When an interpreter is doing their work they are acting as the voice of the patient/ client or health care person.  Therefore there may be times when they need to ask for clarification. There are words which may not exist in another language.   

Following appropriate billing procedures:

  • Health PEI staff must identify themselves and their service site when contacting NSIS.  Be clear that the call is coming from Health P.E.I.  If a service provider who requests the service during  private practice, then their own budget must be accessed for billing.
  • Use of the service by Health PEI staff or salaried physicians must be documented in the attached form and submitted to David Kerr in the Health PEI Finance division at 16 Garfield Street.
  • Divisional managers should be made aware of interpretation service usage by their staff.  Billing is initiated to divisions when an interpreter is requested and dispatched.  There are times when the interpreter may be asked by our staff to be on standby and then the interpretation request is abandoned for various reasons. Billing will still occur in these circumstances.
  • The Health PEI Finance Dept. will charge the billing costs to the requesting Health PEI division. 


Policy and Fee Schedule:

  • Language Interpretation Policy (available on the PDMS website, log-in and search)
  • Fee Schedule (found within the above policy) (available on the PDMS website, log-in and search)

Contact Information:

For further information, questions, or to schedule an in-service on Language Interpretation processes for departmental staff, please contact Rod Stanley at 368-6168 or via email at

Last Updated
Tue, 07/31/2018 - 15:58