Free app to help western Sydney with translated phrases for healthcare

The app contains more than 250 useful phrases in 10 languages for low-risk healthcare settings.

Conversations between healthcare providers, patients and carers in western Sydney will now be easier thanks to a new and free app to help culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

The CALD Assist app has more than 250 useful phrases translated into 10 of the most common community languages in NSW.

Developed by clinicians, the healthcare-focused phrases are divided into nursing, allied health (such as physiotherapists) and COVID-19 categories with written and spoken options.

The app will be particularly useful in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), where around half of residents were born overseas and speak a language other than English at home.

The phrases such as “are you cold?” and “you will need to self-isolate until you receive you COVID-19 test result”, have been professionally translated into:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Croatian
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Macedonian
  • Mandarin
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

More languages are being considered for future updates to the app.

Gordana Vasic, manager of the Health Care Interpreter Service at WSLHD, welcomed the new app while explaining it is not a replacement for interpreters.  

“When it comes to clinical conversations with patients who are not fluent in English or who are deaf, healthcare professionals must always engage professional healthcare interpreters,” Gordana said.

“On the other hand, it is not always possible or practical to have interpreters present for basic, low risk communications. In those instances I strongly support the use of the CALD Assist app.

“It will certainly improve the CALD patients’ experience, especially for inpatients. It will also enable our clinicians to have those regular basic care conversations with their patients, which are so crucial for patient centred care.”

The app is divided into sections for different healthcare settings, such as nursing and physiotherapy.

Originally developed by Western Health Victoria in partnership with the CSIRO, the CALD Assist App has been expanded with additional resources by the Health and Social Policy branch of NSW Health.

CALD Assist can be used on smart phones and tablet devices, and it is free on both Apple and Android app stores.

Its content is built on translations checked by professional NAATI Certified Translators and is not in any way linked to Google Translate, which NSW Health does not support. 

Download the app at the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service website.

Healthcare interpreters are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at WSLHD hospitals. To book an interpreter phone (02) 9912 3800.