The policy and guidelines support departmental staff and funded organisations in the planning and provision of language services.

The Department of Health and Human Services plays an important role in supporting the health and wellbeing of Victorians from culturally diverse backgrounds.

The release of the department’s Language services policy and accompanying guidelines, How to work with interpreters and translators: a guide to effectively using language services, support the department and its funded services in responding to the needs of linguistically diverse people, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and those who use sign language.

Victoria is one of the most culturally diverse and fastest growing populations in Australia, with more than a quarter of the population born overseas. Of those born overseas, three-quarters come from non-English speaking countries. Victorians come from over 200 countries, follow more than 130 different faiths, and nearly a quarter of the community speak a language other than English at home.

The Language services policy and guidelines identify when language services should be offered to clients based on legislative requirements and best practice service delivery. Carers of clients, where appropriate, may also require the language services.

Department-funded organisations and services are encouraged to develop local language services policies and procedures consistent with this policy and guidelines.