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Sunday, 19 October 2008

Hundreds of thousands of pounds is being spent every year translating the NHS Direct telephone service into 160 languages...

NHS Direct pays to translate services into Laotian and Cherokee
Article in the Sunday Telegraph


"The languages include Laotian, which is spoken by just one work permit holder in the UK, and Burmese with two permit holders, according to the Conservatives.

There are also also only 20 people from Tajikistan registered to work in the UK and 30 from Samoa, despite the NHS providing translation services for their native tongues

Other languages included such as Cherokee, Akan, Homa and Cebuano have not even been recorded as having been spoken by a single child in full time education across the country.

NHS Direct also helpfully translates into "international" language Esperanto which was invented in 1887 and has less than 2,000 native speakers worldwide.

Others such as Kashmiri, Samoan, Tibetan, Assamese and Basque are only recorded as being spoken in one educational authority in England."

There is no end to folly and waste in the NHS...)o:


  1. Esperanto works! I've used it in speech and writing in a dozen countries over recent years. But I still can't see why NHS Direct offers it!

  2. But I still can't see why NHS Direct offers it!

    They don't. NHS outsources interpretation to Language Line (http://www.languageline.com), a private California-based firm with an international clientele. NHS simply consumes and pays for services from a palette of Language Line's choice that just happens to include Cherokee, Laotian and Esperanto. If no one needs assistance from NHS Direct in these languages, they incur no cost. The real question is this: how many times did NHS Direct actually field calls in these languages? My guess is none.

  3. Miĉjo seems to have hit the nail on the head. Shocking though it is to see the truth misrepresented in the press, The Telegraph and The Daily Bloody Mail are simply telling lies when they say that "NHS Direct translates its services into Cherokee" or "into 160 languages". They don't.

    The source of these non-stories is this Written Answer from the Minister of State of Health Services.