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Remote video interpretation found useful in day care and health services

Published 24.1.2019 17.00

The City of Tampere tested mobile interpretation at health centres as well as at day care centres for acute interpretation needs. The service enabled the same level level of service across all customers so it will be used in the future too.


The City of Tampere tested mobile interpretation, that is, a video-based interpreting service available through smartphones at two health centres and at six day care centres during autumn 2018. The staff at the health and day care centres contacted an interpreter through a Túlka application installed on a smartphone. The interpreter then interpreted the conversation at hand immediately on a video call. The trial was part of the City of Tampere’s Smart Tampere program.

The staff at health and day care centres found the mobile interpretation to be useful. For instance, day care centres have used mobile interpretation when a child has become ill during the day and it has been essential that the parent or guardian has been informed without delay. Mobile interpretation has promoted equality between guardians.

Túlka mobile interpretation has brought invaluable help for families where parents have no literacy skills. Parents have been really pleased and relieved when such a service has been in use. The service has saved a considerable amount of time for both the parents and the staff, says a day care staff member in a feedback questionnaire.

The mobile interpretation service has been used in health centres when a customer has arrived at an appointment with a nurse for an assessment of the need for treatment without a pre-booked interpretation service. Previously in acute situations where there has been no common language, nurses have had to ask patient’s family members to interpret.

Children are not to use as an interpreters when speaking of parent’s diseases and prescriptions, says Project Manager Sanna Ahonen from Smart Tampere program.

Nurses estimate that the mobile interpretation has eased their work. When a patient is understood and understands the prescription given in the first time, nurses don’t have to book for a new appointment time just in case.

The service will continue

The mobile interpretation service will continue at the Hervanta health centre and at student health care. Linnainmaa and Tammelakeskus health centres will start to use the service too.

All the day care centres that tested the mobile interpretation service (Kisapuisto, Helapuisto, Pääskynen, Pelipuisto, Pallopuisto and Maijalanpuisto) will continue to use it. The City of Tampere will find out whether there is a need for the service also in some schools.

Experiment of the mobile interpretation has been part of the Smart Tampere program of the City of Tampere and it has been conducted in cooperation with Pirkanmaa Interpretation Centre and Tulka Ltd.

Smart Tampere is a strategic program of the City of Tampere promoting sustainable development and digitalization.

Further information

Project Manager Sanna Ahonen Tel. 040 5141809

Text Hanna Porrassalmi

Photos Tulka Ltd