ISO 21998: 2020 Interpreting services — Healthcare interpreting — Requirements and recommendations

This International document establishes requirements for healthcare interpreting services in spoken and signed communication. Healthcare interpreting services: a) enable safe communication mainly between healthcare providers and patients b) provide linguistic access to healthcare services, and c) ensure patient safety. This International document is applicable to all situations requiring healthcare interpreting, where the parties involved need to communicate orally, or by signed language, to resolve a health-related issue. It covers all parties involved in facilitating communication in healthcare settings. However, it does not supersede national, state or provincial regimes or legislation, which govern interpreting services in healthcare, where applicable.

The objectives of this document are: a) to establish minimum requirements; b) to promote market transparency in the field of healthcare interpreting; c) to provide information and clarification for users of healthcare interpreting services.

This document is aimed at individuals, the users of these services and all parties involved in the work of healthcare interpreting:

  • Healthcare interpreters
  • Interpreting service providers
  • Patients and accompanying persons In-house interpreter departments
  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Community organizations that provide interpreting services
  • Employees that provide interpreting services
  • Professional associations
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Educators and researchers
  • Healthcare providers and staff
  • Healthcare policy writers