Key messages

  • Clients and their carers have the right to access accredited interpreters.
  • Mental health services must provide information about peoples' rights and responsibilities in a way they can understand.

Clients and their carers have the right to access accredited interpreters.

Mental health services have the responsibility to provide written and verbal information about the consumer's rights and responsibilities in a way that is understandable to consumers and their carers or families.

When to use an interpreter or translator

An accredited interpreter or translator should be used when:

  • a person, carer or family member requests an interpreter
  • a staff member cannot understand the information being conveyed by a person, carer or family member
  • a person, carer or family member does not fully understand what is being said because of difficulty in communicating in English.

Avoid using families and carers – particularly children under 18 years – as interpreters.

How to access the services

Interpreter and translation services are available through ONCALL for mental health community support services to ensure that service providers can communicate effectively with people and their families and carers, regardless of their physical abilities, linguistic proficiency or cultural background.

Bookings for language services are made through ONCALL (Tel: 03 9867 3788), using an agency personal identification number (PIN).

The service has a monthly spending cap and is accessed on a 'first come, first served' basis by authorised agencies.

Authorised agencies use a PIN, which they quote when requesting translating or interpreting from ONCALL.

Clinical health services can access interpreters and translators as required through their internal mechanisms.

Agencies can find their PIN on the Funded Agency Channel or by telephoning ONCALL (Tel: 03 9867 3788).