Language Assistance & Interpreter Services  

Services to help communicate your health care needs 

Supporting Patients with Language and Interpreter Services

At Winchester Hospital, we help doctors, nurses and your entire care team build a direct relationship with you. 

When you call or register for an appointment, please request an interpreter and make sure we are aware of your primary language. We ensure that a competent medical interpreter, fluent in English and your primary language, will be present for your appointments.

We provide accurate interpretation services for those who use American Sign Language (ASL) or don’t speak English.   

We strive to be an equitable and inclusive health care center.  

Languages Offered

All foreign language interpreters who work in our hospital receive special training as medical interpreters. We provide medical interpreters in these languages: 

  • Albanian
  • Amaric
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Cape Verdean Creole
  • Chinese
  • German
  • Greek
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Khmer
  • Laotian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese 

“Competent” Interpreters

At Winchester Hospital, we use "competent" medical language interpreters in compliance with state and federal laws.

A "competent" interpreter is:

  • Fluent in English
  • Fluent in the language of the non-English speaker
  • Knowledgeable of the specialized medical terms and concepts that need to be interpreted for the purposes of receiving care or treatment
  • Trained and proficient in the skill and ethics of interpreting

Your Right to be Understood

Communicating clearly is essential to getting the care you need. At Winchester Hospital, language services and interpreters are part of your patient rights. You can access our language services at any time.    

Interpreters are readily available in our Emergency Department.

Our interpreter services office will pair you with an interpreter. You can call 781-744-5404 to request an interpreter. If an interpreter fluent in your language is unavailable, we can access video remote interpreting and language line services 24/7.

Our hospital interpreters: 

  • Assist during a visit to our Emergency Department or during an inpatient stay 
  • Inform you and your family about procedures, medications and other important information 

Even if you speak English, consider getting an interpreter if English is not your native language. Here’s why: 

  • Discussing your medical care requires a trained medical interpreter, not just a family member who can translate 
  • It’s easier to understand details in your native language 

We discourage the use of family members or friends as interpreters. However, you do have the right to decline the use of Winchester Hospital’s free interpreter services. If you choose to use family members or friends for interpretation, we will document your choice.

Please note that federal law prohibits the use of minor children as interpreters.

Language Assistance for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

If you need an ASL interpreter, we provide someone certified by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

We also can use paper and pencil to communicate with you. If you have some hearing capacity, we may have you use a hearing amplification device. The Winchester Hospital communications department provides teletypewriters (TTYs) and telecommunications devices for the Deaf (TDDs) for use by patients who are hard-of-hearing.

We work with Lahey Hospital & Medical Center to coordinate ASL interpreters and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. In most cases, it takes two to three weeks to coordinate services in advance for appointments.

Our team works to expedite requests based on interpreter availability.