Five times as many translators booked by Southern Trust

Translators
Translators

Shock figures have revealed the huge number of professional interpreter appointments made for patients at local hospitals, including South Tyrone and Craigavon.

In the past year, five times as many translators were booked by the Southern Health Trust in its health care settings, with a total of 9,923, compared to the next highest trust area, Belfast, which had 1,879.

In fact, the Southern Trust used twice as many professional interpreters to assist people with poor English as the rest of the whole of Northern Ireland.

Lithuanian is by far the most common language translated at local hospitals, accounting for 5803 appointments, followed by Portuguese with 3,119 appointments. Hungarian and Russian were the next most popular languages.

Critics have warned that the provision of translation and interpretation services only serves to perpetuate the language barrier.