Before the appointment

What to do?

  • Make the appointment as soon as possible and keep to the appointment time to ensure the availability of the interpreter and reduce the cost of the service for your facility.
  • Allow more time than usual since everything has to be said twice.
  • Give the interpreter the client's name and check whether he/she is comfortable interpreting for this person. The interpreter may wish to withdraw (conflict of interest, family relationship, etc.).
  • Briefly explain the case to the interpreter and the manner in which you would like him or her to proceed. This will help the interpreter to properly prepare (specific vocabulary, psychological preparation, etc.).

During the appointment

What to do?

  • Start with standard greetings. The interpreter will rephrase them taking into account the client's culture. It is important to follow the communication codes to gain the client's trust. 
  • Introduce yourself to the client; introduce the interpreter and inform him/her of his/her role and the confidentiality of the exchanges. This allows the interpreter to maintain the same professional distance from each speaker, and to make the client understand that the health professional is the person leading the interaction.
  • Make sure the client feels comfortable with the interpreter. The client has the right to refuse the interpreter's assistance.
  • If possible, position yourself in a triangle, talking directly to and looking at the client. In this way, the client will feel that the discussion focuses on him or her.
  • Avoid technical language. Give clear and complete information, a little at a time. Sentence-by-sentence interpretation is the safest method, since it reduces the risk of omitting details. 
  • Ask the client to repeat the instructions if necessary to ensure that they have been understood.
  • Do not discuss the case with the interpreter in the presence of the client. Clients sometimes understand a few words of English or French and may feel that there issue is being decided without their input.
  • Do not delegate your professional responsibility. You are the one leading this discussion. It is not the interpreter's role to explain a law, a vaccine, a diagnosis or a treatment.

After the appointment

What to do?

  • Check with the interpreter if he or she has noticed anything that would be relevant for you as a healthcare professionals. The interpreter can provide the professional with cultural details (e.g. non-verbal communication).

To request interpretation services

Monday to Friday 
8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

418 684-5333, option 0
interpretariat.ciussscn@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

For more information