Language can form a very real barrier between different communities. Without English, trying to access essential or other services can be a daunting exercise.

The Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS) is a confidential translation and interpreting service that can help bridge the communication gap between you and your clients.

We cater for a range of agencies, among them community health and local authority centres, as well as voluntary and other community groups. This brief guide below explains what you can expect from us and what you should do to ensure our interpreters can work effectively.

Guidelines for Service Provider Users

Booking an interpreter

You can call to make a booking during normal office hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday). Our bookings are usually made ONLINE using our Web-Booking system or you can click on Book Online at any time. Alternatively, you can call us on 020 8591 0050 or an email at

Please give us at least 24 hours depending on your client's notice. The more notice you can give, the easier it is for us to arrange a specifically requested male or female interpreter. You can also ask for the same interpreter for follow-up sessions, i.e. mental health/counselling sessions. All sessions should be booked for between 7am and 8pm (including weekends) and these need to be booked through the TIS office during the weekday opening hours and not with individual interpreters.

If you need to book an interpreter with less than 24hrs notice please email full details of the session to

When booking please ensure the provided details are correct; the clients initials/ID reference, the time, language/dialect and venue/meeting place address (including postcode) before contacting us. You will be advised of the booking reference number by the person you contact in the interpreting service.

Some guidance on languages and culture

Before booking an interpreter, you should ascertain your client's or service user's language and clearly mark this on their record or relevant documents. Effective communication relies on more than the spoken word: cultural and personal factors play a role too. But beware of making false assumptions about your client, the interpreter or their culture. A reliance on stereotypes can cause offence. Interviewing through an interpreter is not always a straightforward process.

Briefing the interpreter

The interpreter will aim to help your client get the best possible service, while helping you operate professionally and effectively.

The interpreter will rely on you to be patient and to provide a thorough brief. The brief should include any appropriate background information, as well as explanations of all the technical terms that may arise. However, where possible, you should try to use simple language and avoid jargon or specialist terminology. Circumstances permitting, a debriefing after the session is advisable.

During a session

As the person who booked the session, you control proceedings, but it is important to note that interpreting your words may not be a straight forward process.

Even short and simple sentences can take longer when being interpreted. Try to speak directly to your client and ensure that you are sitting facing both the interpreter and your client.

Also, try to use the interpreter's knowledge or background and culture to create a rapport with your client. Good working relations can help overcome communication problems.

Your feedback

We aim to provide the best services, but we are always looking to make improvements. That is why we want your feedback, positive or critical.

Comments about the service in general or about an individual interpreter should be made in writing to the Service Director, 4 Farr Avenue, Barking, Essex IG11 0NZ.

Payment and contact details

The Interpreting Service pays it's interpreters directly. Please sign the interpreter's timesheet or pay claim at the end of the session to confirm their attendance.

Book your interpreter online or call us on 020 8591 0050

Dialect Information

When noting their language, please be clear on their exact language or dialect. For instance, Chinese is not an accurate description of a Cantonese or Mandarin speaker. Also Persian now known as Farsi language and spoken in Iran and Afghanistan but its important that you ask your client where they come from to get the right dialect as this will affect the choice of interpreter you make. For a list of languages spoken in each country of the world and the TIS Language card please click on the pdf files below:

Languages Spoken in Each Country of the World
Language Reference Card for Users

Latest News

TIS Office will be closed during the Christmas period:

Friday, 24th December 2021 from 12:30pm - 5pm,

Monday, 27th December 2021

Tuesday, 28th December 2021

Monday, 3rd January 2022


Some people who speak English may not understand how important it is for me and my family to have someone who can speak on our behalf for all the problems and the traumas we have gone though. I am very grateful to the Translating & Interpreting Service for all the help they give me.

Turkish speaking client

My wife and I live alone and do not speak English, which makes it very difficult to access some of the services available. Whenever I have any concerns or problems I go to TIS Offices where help is always available.

Albanian speaking client

I am so happy to know that every time I go to see my GP, dentist or attend my hospital appointments I am able to show them the TIS Language Identification Card which helps to get an interpreter for me.

Polish speaking client

Book your interpreter online or call us on 020 8591 0050

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