Lost in translation: feedback on Arabic interpreting and translation services in GatesheadDownload (PDF 253KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Gateshead undertook research into people’s experience of interpreting services for health care after hearing negative feedback on this issue. During February 2020 they gathered the views of 148 people who spoke Arabic.
Interpreters were offered most frequently at GP practices. Pharmacies were least likely to offer interpreters. The survey respondents gave an overall rating of 3.9 stars out of 5 for ease of booking interpreters. Despite the majority highly rating the booking process, there were contradictory comments, including lack of Arabic (Syrian dialect) interpreters, long waiting times for appointments with an interpreter and having to rely on support workers in emergencies.
The overall rating was 4.1 stars for the quality of service people received. Again, people raised issues including interpreters having weak ‘Arabic language’ skills, interpreter punctuality and reliability, not receiving the requested gender of interpreter and using the phone services with a hearing impairment.
Translation services had 3.7 stars for receiving services in the correct language. Despite a relatively high rating, there were some negative comments including people sometimes having to use Google Translate for NHS letters and translated documents not being accurate.
There were 7 recommendations to improve awareness of and quality of interpreting services.