Interpreter services

This page is for general interpreting services. If you are looking for information on NZ Sign language interpreters, visit this page.

English is the most commonly used language in New Zealand health care settings. If you or someone you know needs health care services but don't feel confident communicating in English, you can ask for an interpreter.





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Trying to communicate in a language that is not your mother tongue can be very stressful when you need health care. You have the right to talk about your health in a way that you feel comfortable with.

It's best not to use someone you know as an interpreter. Even a person with excellent English skills may not be able to understand health-related information well. This can create gaps in the information shared and increase the chances of misunderstandings on your healthcare journey.

If you have been admitted to the hospital, please let staff know that you need an interpreter. Let them know what your preferred spoken language is (including dialect) and your preferred written language.

If you need to see another health care provider, such as a GP, let them know as soon as possible that you need an interpreter. It can take up to a day for the healthcare service to book an interpreter but if you need one urgently, ask the service if that would be possible.

For some languages, a professional interpreter can come to an appointment in person. For other languages, professional interpreters are only available on the phone.

Here are some charts you can use to help communicate your language.

Most public health services provide interpreting services for free if you are eligible for publicly funded health services in New Zealand. Check with your healthcare provider if you're not sure. Several private interpreter services you can pay for are available in New Zealand. See the bottom of the page for some links to private interpreter services.

Provider Contact details

Ambulance(external link) for a healthcare emergency

Call 111

Healthline(external link) for general health advice and information

Call 0800 611 116

BreastScreen Aotearoa(external link). A free breast screening service.

Call 0800 270 200

Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa(external link). A service for sexual and reproductive health.

Contact your local clinic. Find your local clinic here.(external link)

Mary Potter Hospice(external link). A charity that provides specialist palliative care services for people living in Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti

Call 04 389 5017

National Poisons Centre(external link) for information on poisoning.

Call 0800 764 766

Plunket(external link) A support service for children under 5 and their families.

Call 0800 933 922

There are various apps that you can use to provide translated services such as iTranslate and Google Translate. Visit your app store.

Find interpreting services for your consultations via Health Pathways.

Additional resources:

Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.