Language Services at University Hospital
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The Patient Relations Department coordinates the language interpretation and document translation services for University Hospital.

UH Patient Relations Department
University Hospital
C-242 (in UH Main Lobby)
(973) 972-6410


  • It is the hospital’s responsibility to provide interpreter services to any patient, at any time, and at no cost.
  • A patient should NEVER be turned away due to a language or communication barrier.
  • Always ask the patient (or patient’s representative if the patient is unable to speak) if an interpreter is needed. Always ask, even if a friend or family member has accompanied the patient and is interpreting.
  • If the patient/representative declines interpreter services, document this in the medical record.
  • If the patient/representative requests interpreter services, document this in the medical record AND obtain the interpreter.

There are several ways to ensure clear communication with patients who have limited or no English proficiency.

The UH Volunteer Interpreter Directory is produced by the Patient Relations Department. The directory is posted on UHNet; you may also contact the Patient Relations Department to obtain a copy. ONLY qualified, trained interpreters should be used to communicate clinical information. Qualified, trained volunteer interpreters have the blue “INTERPRETER” badge affixed to their UH ID badge. Please contact the Patient Relations Department if you wish to become a UH interpreter.

To access the over-the-phone interpreting service:

  1. Dial 866-455-8165.
  2. Follow the prompts to select a language.
  3. Provide the name of your department.
  4. Speak naturally to your patient.
  5. Disconnect call when done.

Click here to see a brief instructional video:
Dual headsets, that allow both you and the patient to speak to the phone interpreter at the same time, can be ordered by contacting the Patient Relations Department.


Ensure that any critical documents you give to your patients are provided to the patient in their preferred language. Critical documents may include:

  • Informed Consent documents
  • Medication management and prescription directions
  • Discharge instructions
  • Explanations of screening, diagnosis, or treatment options
  • Intake forms

Should you have any documents in need of translation, please forward to the Patient Relations Department ASAP. Translations must be done via the Patient Relations Department. Do not undertake the translation yourself or ask a colleague to assist.


For immediate access to a sign language interpreter, you may obtain a Deaf Talk Machine. The Deaf Talk device provides video sign language interpreting services via a mobile video conferencing unit (on a rolling cart). Deaf Talk Machines are available to you in the following locations:

  • Bed Management office (UH C-454), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Emergency Department (Fast Track), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Patient Relations office (UH C-242), 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday
  • ACS Administration (Cancer Center- Suite B1115), 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday

If the patient refuses to use the Deaf Talk machine and requests an in-person interpreter, call one of the following agencies:

      • Natural Languages: 201-984-2505
      • ASL Services: 732-873-6401

If you contact one of the agencies above, call the Patient Relations Department and leave a message advising that this was done.

If the patient has a scheduled appointment AND the Deaf Talk machine cannot be used, you should contact the Patient Relations Department (ext. 2-6410), at least 48 hours in advance, to schedule an in-person sign language interpreter. This will ensure that the interpreter is present at the time of the patient’s arrival.


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