With over 2,300 interpreters, TIS National has been providing video remote interpreting services in Australian healthcare, which aims to provide better access to non-English speaking communities.
Responding to the growing demand for multilingual services in healthcare, the Australian Government’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) has launched a new video remote interpreting (VRI) service to help non-English speaking patients access telehealth consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The VRI service allows medical professionals to book an interpreter remotely to assist during video consultations with patients with limited or no English-language skills. Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said communities have already begun using the service at a high rate in Victoria, which has struggled during the pandemic to accessibly communicate health information to its multilingual communities. TIS National aims to mitigate the strain put on those communities as COVID-19 cases continue to rise globally.
“The new telehealth video interpreting service adds another level of useability to TIS National which is already providing critical telephone interpreting services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, right across Australia,” Tudge said. The video service will make it easier for medical professionals to connect with their patients, while enabling the COVID-safe delivery of vital health services. Importantly, it will reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection for patients, healthcare providers and interpreters.”
TIS National connects government, businesses, and the Australian community through the provision of credentialed and secure interpreting services in more than 140 languages. TIS National has a panel of over 2,300 interpreters, who are Australian permanent residents or citizens.
NAATI, Australia’s certifying authority for linguists, reported earlier this year that the top five first languages among translators and interpreters are Chinese (26.5%), English (13.8%), Arabic (7.5%), Vietnamese (5.4%), and Persian/Farsi (5.2%), all of which have represented the majority of requests for the VRI service. Along with those languages, however, Arabic, Greek, and Italian have made up a significant portion of the demand.