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Interpreting Services

The Provincial Language Service provides interpreting services to BC health authorities.
What we do

Our services include:

  • Onsite spoken-language interpreting for immigrant and refugee populations
  • Remote interpreting by phone or video conference for immigrant and refugee populations
  • Online booking, schedule changes and reporting

We will dispatch a professional interpreter to your location or immediately connect you with a professional interpreter over the phone.

Languages interpreted

We provide spoken-language interpreting services in over 150 languages.

Download the list of languages we interpret and translate

If you don't see the language you need on this list, please contact us.

Note: There is no spoken "Chinese". Please determine if your client requires Mandarin, Cantonese or another Chinese dialect.

Who we serve

 We provide interpreting services to health-care professionals who work for any agency or service under the BC health authorities. For more information, including rates for Interior Health and Northern Health, please contact

BC Lower Mainland:

Interpreting Services for the following health authorities are consolidated and funded under a centralized budget.
  • Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA)
  • Providence Health Care (PHC)
  • Fraser Health (FH)
  • Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)

Vancouver Island:

Interpreting services may be accessed by all Island Health staff and are funded under a separate centralized budget administered by Island Health.

BC Interior and North:

We also provide interpreting services for Interior Health and Northern Health. Interpreting services for these health authorities are provided on a fee-for-service basis.

The interpreters are uniformly excellent.
—BC Cancer Agency
Book an interpreter

New customers

  1. Open a customer account
  2. Phone our customer service team during business hours to be immediately registered as a customer
  3. Customer line: 604-297-8400 or toll-free at 1-877-BC Talks (228-2557)
  4. Business hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Existing customers

  1. Advance booking: To book an interpreter more than two business hours in advance, book online
  2. Immediate or phone booking: To book an interpreter immediately or to connect to a phone interpreter, call 604-297-8400 or toll-free at 1-877-BC Talks (228-2557)
  3. Please have the following information ready:

    • Appointment date
    • Start and end time
    • Location
    • Language
    • Purpose of appointment

Need help?

Need an online booking ID? Forgot your password? Contact us by phone or email.

About your account

Your account on the PLS Online System:
  • allows you to securely book appointments without having to install any software on your computer 
  • quickly access accurate statistics from a reporting module
  • quickly access to PLS interpreting services 
  • has no monthly fees – you are only billed for services provided
  • maintains your privacy. View our privacy policy.


Up-to-date information and user guides are available on your organization's intranet or in the Resources section of your online booking system.

The following intranet sites can only be directly accessed from a computer on the appropriate network:

How we work

Community interpreting

PLS provides what is generally known as community interpreting, usually done in the consecutive mode in a dialogue-like interaction. 

This enables communication between non-English or limited-English speakers and providers of public services. These services include health care, government agencies, community centres, legal settings, educational institutions and social services.

We offer the following types and modes of interpreting.

Types of interpreting

  • Medical 
  • Mental health 
  • Over the phone or video conference 
  • Sight translation (oral translation of a written message)

Modes of interpreting


Speaker and interpreter take turns. The interpreter waits for the speaker to pause, usually after a few sentences, and then interprets what the speaker has said.


Interpreter interprets while the speaker is still talking. Depending on the language, the interpreter stays a few words or sentences behind the speaker. This is used in conference interpreting or other public speaking settings.

Whispered or Chuchotage

Interpreter uses simultaneous or consecutive mode and whispers the information to the listener. This is useful for group settings where only one person requires an interpreter.

Qualified professionals

More than 350 skilled language specialists are available for in-person and phone interpreting across the province. 

PLS interpreters adhere to rigorous quality-assurance measures and to national professional standards. 

Commitment to customers 

PLS’s commitment begins with quality interpreters and service standard excellence. From our dedicated call centre staff to our stringent quality assurance processes, our team strives to provide excellent service and to meet all your language needs.

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