Image banks and visual resources

The Picture Communication Tool

This comprises sets of ‘free to download and print’ drawings. Cannot replace the need for interpreters but can be particularly useful for day to day activities within a medical setting. 


Picture banks on a wide range of themes. Not free

Simplifying language, effective communication

Plain English Campaign:

How to write medical information in plain English

The A-Z of Alternative Words 

Plain English Guide to Forms


How to Make Information Accessible: a guide to producing easy read documents.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Effective strategies for sharing health information in ways that people can understand and use.

Office for Disability Issues, NZ

A guide to making Easy Read information.

Information about community languages

Language Identification Chart

A PDF with translations for “I speak language” in sixty two languages.

The Language Shop

Translation services

Translated materials


Find links to health information in other languages provided by other websites.

NHS Cancer Screening:

Breast Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Bowel Cancer

BME Health Forum

Translated health information 

Translated Health Information

A wide range of information available in different languages.

Translated DH publications and resources 

Archived materials from The Department of Health

HERON NHS Norfolk 

Health and social care information in community languages and alternative formats.

British Red Cross Society

The Emergency Multilingual phrasebook, translated into 36 languages. NB: this cannot replace an interpreter. 

New South Wales Government 

Translated resources by health topic.

Working with interpreters

Nursing Times

Thom, N. 2008: Using telephone interpreters to communicate with patients. Nursing Times; 104: 46, 28–29. 

Working With Interpreters

Hints and tips for working with interpreters both face to face and over the telephone.

Commissioning interpreter services

BMC Health Services Research

What do language barriers cost? An exploratory study among asylum seekers in Switzerland. Bischoff A, Denhaerynck K, 2010: BMC Health Services Research. 23;10:248. 

Northwest RSMP

ESOL for Refugees – Migration Yorkshire toolkit

NHS England

Guidance for commissioners: Interpreting and Translation Services in Primary Care

Public Health England

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients for healthcare practitioners​​​​, 2021. 

The Customer Hub

Guide to commissioning interpreting services written by the Institute of Linguists National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI Ltd)


Research Evidence on Ethnicity and Communication in Healthcare

Szczepura et al, 2005: An Overview of the Research Evidence on Ethnicity and Communication in Healthcare. Final Report.


The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) specific interest group in bilingualism: Good practice for speech and language therapists: Working with clients from linguistic minority communities 


Rowland ML, 2008: Enhancing communication in dental clinics with linguistically different patients. Journal of Dental Education 72(1):72-80. 

European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling

Tribe, R and Keefe, A 2009: Issues in using interpreters in therapeutic work with refugees. What is not being expressed? European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 11(4), 409–424. 

Missed Opportunities When Communicating With Limited English-Proficient Patients

Norris WM, Wenrich MD, Nielsen EL, Treece PD, Jackson JC, Curtis JR, 2005: Communication about end-of-life care between language-discordant patients and clinicians: insights from medical interpreters. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 8(5):1016-24 

Health services utilization by low-income limited English proficient adults

Graham et al, 2008, Journal of Immigrant Health, 10(3):207-17 

Low health literacy

Villaire, M, & Mayer, G/G, 2007. Chronic illness management and low health literacy. Group Practice Journal, 56 (4), 40-45. 

Teaching patients with low literacy skills

Doak, CC, Doak, LG, & Root, JH, 1996. Teaching patients with low literacy skills. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott. 

Writing easy to read teaching aids

Mayer GG & Rushton N, 2002. Writing easy to read teaching aids. Nursing 2002, 32 (3) 48-49