Article: Volume 48 Number 3 Page 213 - March 2021

  Dent Update 2021; 48: 213-215  Read article

Dental public health:  Effective use of translation services in dentistry

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Abstract: Translation services are central to effective communication with patients unable to speak English, or with hearing impairment. This article gives an overview of the cost of translation services in key secondary care locations and provides guidance on how best to optimize their use clinically. Freedom of information requests were made to 20 dental hospitals in the United Kingdom to ascertain the number and cost of interpreter and sign-language appointments. We highlight the importance of using these necessary but costly services effectively.

Clinical relevance: Guidance is given on how to best use translator services in a dental setting, better ensuring valid consent and promoting patient autonomy.

Author notes: Kajal B Patel, MChd/BChd, BSc Oral Science, MFDS RCSEd, DCT2, Restorative Dentistry, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust. Emma G Walshaw, BDS MJDF RCSEng, PgCert MedEd, Medical Student, University of Leeds. Naeem I Adam, BDS (hons), MJDF RCSEng, PgCert MedEd, ST1, Orthodontics, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. email:

Objective: The reader should develop an understanding of techniques that may be used to overcome difficulties associated with the use of translation services.