Frequently Asked Questions

Want to know more about our service? You can find answers to frequently asked questions below – if yours isn’t answered, please get in touch.

Interested in becoming a member?

  • How can I access your services?

    Your organisation needs to become a member of INTRAN before you can access our services.

    Once you are a member, our services are available to you whenever you need them.

    Please note that, unlike commercial interpreting and translation agencies, we do not offer our services on an ‘on demand’ basis, only as part of a membership package.

  • When can we join? How long does it take for us to join?

    You can join INTRAN at any time.

    Please note that you cannot access INTRAN on an ad-hoc basis; your organisation will need to go through a process to register with INTRAN.

    If you want to know more about your membership options, please click here, complete the application form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

  • How do I join?

    You can send us an email, call us or complete the form here. We’ll get back in touch with you as soon as we can.

  • Do you operate on a 24-hour basis?

    Yes, we operate on a 24-hour basis. Telephone interpreting is available on demand. For emergency services, British Sign Language and Foreign Language/English interpreting services are also available. If it is not an emergency, please book as soon as you know you need an interpreter.

    Turnaround times for written translations depend primarily on the extent of the text to be translated. Our turnover is very high, and small documents can often be returned on the same working day or the day after.

  • Are your interpreters and translators trained and qualified?

    Yes, our providers are trained and qualified at Level 6 national standards in interpretation and translation, but we go further than that. We offer interpreters and translators with extensive experience in public-sector environments, and insight into how to work in sensitive situations. They follow a strict professional Code of Ethics and are all police-checked.

Interpreters and Translators

Service Users / Community Members

  • I am Deaf and I need an interpreter. Can I be certain there will be an interpreter?

    Yes, if the organisation you need to speak to is an INTRAN member, they will be able to arrange a BSL interpreter for you.

    Make sure the person you are meeting with knows that you need a BSL interpreter – the sooner the better.

  • How can I be sure that there will be an interpreter at my appointment? I do not speak English fluently

    Tell the person you’re meeting that you will need an interpreter, and what language you speak.

    Tell them as early as you can, so they have plenty of time to arrange an interpreter.

  • I am not fluent enough in English to understand what you say about INTRAN. Can you help in my language?

    For a translation of essential information about INTRAN, please click here

  • Can I trust the interpreter?

    Yes. All INTRAN interpreters are fully trained/qualified in professional interpreting and translation, and carefully chosen for their experience of working in sensitive situations. They work to a code of ethics that says they must be professional, impartial and confidential.

    ‘Professional’ means they will interpret whatever you say truly and faithfully, without adding anything or leaving anything out. The interpreter may ask for something to be clarified, or point out that something has not been understood. When understanding of a cultural difference is important to the conversation, clarification may be made by the interpreter. Apart from that, they will only speak to interpret what is being said.

    ‘Impartial’ means the interpreter is not allowed to give their own opinion or advice, either to you or the person you’re speaking to. They are not like a solicitor, who takes your side and argues for you, and they are not there to take the other person’s side either. They are only there to help you communicate.

    ‘Confidential’ means the interpreter is not allowed to reveal anything you say, or anything else about the meeting, to anyone else.

  • Do I need to come with someone who speaks my language or will an interpreter be there?

    If you have requested an interpreter and received confirmation from the member of staff that an interpreter will be arranged, there’s no need to bring someone else who speaks your language, unless you want them to be there for support.

    Using friends, family and informal interpreters often lead to misinterpretations,  omissions and confidentiality being broken. For all specialised interviews, such as in health and criminal justice contexts, it is better to let the professional interpreter do it.

    There will be times where staff will demand to communicate through a professional interpreter. It is often in cases when it is important for them to be certain that everything they say is communicated fully and effectively to you and that all the points you want to make are conveyed accurately.

  • What does the INTRAN sign mean?

    If you see the INTRAN sign in an office or reception area, it means that the organisation is a member of INTRAN, and can book our interpreting and translation services whenever they need to.

    It will help the organisation if you can tell them in advance that you need an INTRAN interpreter. However, they should still be able to arrange an interpreter, usually by phone, if you visit in person and explain that you need one now.

Staff Users

  • Are we members of INTRAN? Can I use it?

    You can use INTRAN services as long as your organisation is a member of INTRAN.

    To find out whether your organisation is a member, consult our Champions Directory. If a Champion from your organisation is listed, you are a member of INTRAN.

  • What is my ID code?

    You need your organisation’s ID code to confirm that you are a member of INTRAN when booking services by phone.

    When you phone the appropriate number for the service you need, the operator will ask for your ID code before arranging the booking.

    You cannot book without your ID code.

  • How can I access my ID code?

    To access your ID code, ask your manager. Alternatively, identify your internal INTRAN Champion, then get in touch with them to find out what your code is.

    If you do not know your internal INTRAN champion, email us to find out who they are.

  • What service do I need to use?

    If your client communicates with British Sign Language, or if they use lipreading, you need BSL interpreting or lipspeaking.

    If you need to respond to an emergency, have a routine requirement or need to hold a straightforward one-on-one conversation, and the telephone connection is good, consider telephone interpreting.

    If you need to hold a group meeting, deal with sensitive issues such as safeguarding, impart bad news or closely observe non-verbal cues, consider face-to-face interpreting.

    If you need to create a written or audio version of an existing text in another language, particularly for publication or distribution to a large group, consider translation.

    You can find more details on choosing the right service on our individual service pages. Find our full list of staff services here.

  • Who do I need to call to arrange a booking?

    The numbers are different depending on which service you need.

    Visit our staff services page and click through to the required service to find the right phone number.

  • Am I allowed to use INTRAN?

    You’re allowed to use INTRAN services in line with your organisation’s policy, as long as your organisation is a member of INTRAN.

    To find out whether your organisation is a member, ask your manager or email us.

  • How much does it cost?

    Through INTRAN, you will be able to access best-value interpreting and translation services. Through tendering, we have appointed a range of INTRAN-approved suppliers who are commissioned to deliver high quality services at competitive prices. All prices will be consistent with INTRAN’s contractual arrangements, and INTRAN carries out regular controls to check on cost consistency, quality and value-for-money provided to its members. We cannot give you a quote for telephone interpreting, as charges will solely depend upon the number of minutes of interpreting you will have had. Cost estimates can be provided by our suppliers for all other INTRAN services, based on the booking information you give them.

  • How do I book?

    You’ll need your INTRAN ID code. If you don’t have it, ask your manager or your internal INTRAN champion. If you do not know who the champion is, email us.

    Once you have your code, visit our staff services page to find details of all the services we offer and instructions on how to book.

    Please note that there is no single number you can use to access all our services. Different services have different numbers, and in some cases there are different numbers for different areas too. This is to help you access the best possible service, based upon  your geographical location.

    Book as soon as you know you need an interpreter.