Interpreter Services at Duke Health


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Clear communication with your health care team is important for understanding your health condition or that of a family member. It allows you and your doctor to make treatment decisions to achieve the best possible outcome. That’s why Duke offers a range of free interpreter services for all patients who prefer to communicate in a language other than English. Our interpreters are trained to work in a health care setting and follow all national standards for medical interpreters.

Scheduling Interpreter Services


If you are already a patient at Duke, interpretation services can be arranged when you make an appointment. Our medical records system alerts your appointment scheduler if your preferred language is not English and if you need an interpreter. Then your scheduler will request that interpretation services be provided during your visit. You can update your preferred language in MyChart or let your doctor’s office know.

If you are a new patient without a MyChart account or your language preference is not included in your medical records, these services can be requested when you check in for your appointment at any Duke Health location. 

Another option is to request an interpreter. At Duke University Hospital and Duke University Hospital clinics, call 919-681-3007; for Duke Regional Hospital, call 919-470-8559. For these locations and others, you can also ask your scheduler to coordinate interpreter services for your visit.

Interpreter Services Options


In-Person Interpreters
Bilingual and bicultural interpreter Duke staff are available on site at Duke University Hospital, Duke University Hospital clinics, and Duke Regional Hospital. Staff interpreters at Duke University Hospital and at Duke University Hospital clinics are fluent in Spanish, Arabic, and French. For other languages and locations, including Duke Raleigh Hospital, your appointment scheduler can arrange for an in-person interpreter when you make your appointment (with 48 hours advanced notice).

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Duke University Hospital and Duke University Hospital clinics have reduced hours. 

  • Spanish interpreters are available from 7:00 am to midnight seven days a week. 
  • Arabic and French interpreters are available from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm every weekday and provide on-call coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

At Duke Regional Hospital, in-person Spanish interpretation is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All other language interpretation is supported by phone or video services over the phone or via video.

Phone Services
When in-person interpreters are not an option due to appointment location or availability of staff, our in-house Spanish, Arabic, and French interpreters are available via phone. For other languages, we use a telephone interpretation service, which supports 150 languages 24/7. It is best for your appointment scheduler to arrange phone interpretation services before your appointment, if possible, so that we are prepared to meet your needs. New patients and patients whose records do not include language preference information can request this service prior to their appointment.

Video-Based Services  
When in-person staff are not available for interpreting at Duke University Hospital, Duke University Hospital clinics, and Duke Regional Hospital, they may be able to interpret via video, usually on a Duke iPad. For other languages and locations, contract interpreters are available via video on iPads and other mobile devices. 

For telehealth (virtual) appointments, language services are provided through a video conferencing platform like Zoom. Your session will include you, your doctor, and the interpreter. All video-based services can be set up by your scheduler when you make your appointment.

Sign Language
Your scheduler can arrange for an in-person sign language interpreter when you make your appointment at any Duke Health location. If an in-person interpreter is not available, Duke can provide video-based ASL interpreter services. 

Checking on Hospital Patients


If you are monitoring the status of a family member or loved one in a Duke hospital but English is not your preferred language, we can help. Call the appropriate number below for more information.

  • Duke University Hospital: 919-681-3007
  • Duke Raleigh: 919-954-3126 (patient information desk)
  • Duke Regional: 919-470-8559

Written Translation


To ensure that you fully understand written health information, we offer translation of print materials including Duke letters of consent, discharge instructions, educational materials, and other Duke medical documents. For more information about this free service, please call 919-681-3007. Nurses, doctors, and other health care providers can submit a translation request for Duke printed materials on your behalf. 

International Patient Services


If you are travelling to Duke from another country, International Patient Services can assist you with interpretation, scheduling appointments, arranging transportation and lodging, and more.