Language Interpretation Services

Nova Scotia Interpreting Services 1-902-425-5532

Helpful tips when utilizing language interpretation services

What does the service offer:

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 holidays for an additional charge to Health PEI.
  • In urgent situations, the reality is that the response is not immediate.  Be clear that the situation is urgent and advise you are calling from a Health PEI service.  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.
  • Example:  When the service provider is challenged to communicate details of an upcoming appointment with a patient/client, the person responsible for booking an appointment will work with the interpreting service to make the call to the patient/client to book the appointment.

How the service is used:

  • When calling the Dispatch Coordinator at 902-425-5532, you will be asked a series of questions to make sure the interpreting services has all the information needed to assign at phone-based interpreter.  This a 24 hour dispatch line.
  • You will be asked the nature of the assignment, so that Dispatch can work with you to determine if it is an urgent or non-urgent situation.
  • 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 Interpreting Services Card [PDF] to help the patient/client identify their particular language or dialect.  It is best to print this card to show your patient/client.
  • 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 PEI.  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 Record of Language Interpretation Request Form [PDF] and submitted to David Kerr in the Health PEI's Finance division at 16 Garfield Street.  Finance will charge the billing costs to the requesting division. 
  • Private fee-for-service physician offices can use the interpreter service, but must pay directly to NSIS through their own billing procedures.
  • Managers or Supervisors 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 staff to be on standby and then the interpretation request is abandoned for various reasons. Billing will still occur in these circumstances.


  • Language Interpretation Policy (available on the PDMS website, log-in and search)


  • $10 per call for simple appointment reminders or special instructions to a patient or client.
  • $50 per hour for general telephone interpreting with a one-hour minimum.  Long distance charges will apply, if applicable.
  • Cancellation notice must be given 24 hours prior to service; otherwise a cancellation fee of 1 hour shall apply ($50).
  • If the interpreter calls and discovers the appointment has been cancelled and NSIS were not notified, or the client does not attend the appointment, then there is a minimum 2-hour charge.

Contact Information:

For further information, please visit the Nova Scotia Interpreting Services website.  

If issues arise, escalate the interpreting need to your Manager or Supervisor. 

Last Updated
Mon, 03/16/2020 - 11:55