Translation Survey Report
Our first translation survey
Great results and highlighted service’s strong points
stakeholders in a long term relationship with SIS
felt that SIS services are either very good or excellent
agreed that SIS is consistent and dependable
felt that SIS is approachable and easily contactable
would recommend the translation service to a colleague
felt that SIS is respectful, polite and friendly

SIS translation service has grown steadily over the past few years. We have worked to improve it, recruiting Community Translators (CT), and promoting the service across the Sussex area. The survey was aimed at Service Providers (SP) and we hoped to establish the following:

  • Identify key criteria (accuracy, reliability, easy to access, support, etc)
  • Capture opinions and sentiments about SIS translation service
  • Seek out feedback and comments on how to improve things
  • Identify themes for future surveys

366 surveys were emailed. 55 were returned (1 void) = 15%.

1. General impressions

As we were seeking views about the service for the first time, we starting with a sequence of questions about our consistency and dependability, promptness of our responses, and asking SPs to grade us on how trustworthy, professional, respectful and polite we were.

For this part of the survey results were exceptionally good.

38.9% of those responded had been using the service between 2 – 5 years and 18.5% had been with us for 5 – 10 years.

Over 79.6% of Service Providers used the service occasionally.

We’d known that out interpreting service is busier than translation service, and 79.6% of Service Providers surveyed indicated they use SIS translation service occasionally. Still, we have established long term, good working relationships with over 57% of the stakeholder’s group.

The results also showed that the service had an excellent reputation: 86.2% indicated they learned about the service from a colleague, and staggering 100% would recommend us to a colleague. (Appendix 1 – Question 2. How did you find out about SIS translation service – Other: please specify)

2. Translation service key attributes

One of the survey goals we to ascertain the list of translation criteria in order of importance for service users. Because this was the first survey we suggested a list of measurements we felt crucial for the successful service. This is what was most important to the service providers:

  1. SIS uses trained Community Translators
  2. I can email translation requests
  3. I can consult SIS about languages, dialects, client groups
  4. The service needs to be quick
  5. Translation are easy to open and in required format
  6. service is affordable
  7. SIS offers technical know-how

It was good to see that organisations who request translations felt SIS using the trained Community Translators was the most important characteristic of the service. Service providers felt assured the text produced would be of 2 high standard.

Results also pointed out the option of consulting SIS was very much rated. As the service was used occasionally, to compliment the interpreting service, it was important to know that people can pick up the phone and talk to us prior to any request.

Service Providers also felt it was important they can consult us on things such as dialects, most common languages in the area, on BME groups in the area, promotion and distribution of the material.

Only one participant added a further comment here: “SIS translation is fairly expensive but I can probably understand why.”

This was a very useful and we hope to investigate cost effectiveness of the service in future.

3. How we compare to others

We invited comments on how our translation service compare to other services SPs might have used.

The results were somewhat confusing. The first impressions out the SIS translation service in the survey offered a picture of full satisfaction and approval, but asked to compare us to others, 13.8 % said we were same as others, and 6.9% indicated we were worse than others. Clearly the focus of the next survey is to learn more about this, and ask very specific questions about why we appear to be better or worse translation service.

The large number (65.5 %) ticked ‘didn’t know’ option, and 20 people offered additional comments to indicate they didn’t use other services: 17 indicated they didn’t use anyone else (“I have not used any other service and rely on SIS”). 6 responded by saying that SIS is a corporately approved service.

There is evidence that some Service Providers got confused about the format of this question. (Appendix 4 – survey questionnaire)

We must make sure that the format of future surveys follows the same pattern from beginning to the end. (Appendix 2 – Question 13. If you have used another translation service how does SIS compare? Please provide an explanatory comment)

4. Comments (themes)

We invited stakeholders to make comments and offer feedback about the service. Reading through them we identified a few themes:

4.1. Efficient, friendly, accountable Quite a few (additional) comments were about the service being approachable and friendly. Stakeholders also commented on the professional, yet friendly manner of the service, and they indicated they could count on us. Again, they suggested they were recommending the service to their colleagues.

4.2. Interpreting We made a mistake of not mentioning difference between our interpreting and our translation service (terms interpreting and translating are regularly used interchangeably), therefore some comments were about the interpreting service. The comments made ranged from being needing to be more specific about meeting places, to wanting a feedback from Community Interpreters about the interviews.

4.3. Suggestions Key suggestions made were about promoting the service more widely. A few Service Providers indicated they wanted more information such as list of languages, formats, what other services we offer. One comment was about the respond to non urgent messages, indicating it was not very quick. Suggesting we look at this. (Appendix 3 – Question 14 Feedback and suggestions)

Summary and Conclusions:

Service Providers felt the translation service is professional and accessible. They believe we were trustworthy and all of them would recommend us to their colleagues.

The service is used occasionally and almost 60% of responders had had a long term working relationship with SIS (2 – 10 years).

Overall, 45.3% indicated SIS provided excellent services, and 43.4% specified our services are very good and 11.3% stated our services are good.

Service Providers are still needing a better telephone access to SIS. When asked if SIS was approachable and easily contactable 1.9% disagreed.

Core service manager has already taken action with the core service co-ordinator on improving on improving telephone access to the service. For further information please email Vikki Gimson using the form below.

The next year survey to focus on the following:

  • Emphasising the survey is about the translation service (although leaving space for comments on interpreting service)
  • Asking same general questions about the service and comparing results with previous year
  • Publicity

Zina Bratović December 2007

Appendix 1

Question 2 How did you find out about SIS translation service (other: please specify)

  • Through department that I work with. Also one of your staff came and introduced your service and left contact details.
  • B&H council
  • work policy
  • employer B&H council
  • Employee of B&H CYPT so we always use SIS
  • general knowledge
  • I rang to find out
  • already used by agency
  • were told to use this service by our Managers
  • Our service already used SIS for interpreters
  • it is something we use in our job
  • Corporate approved supplier
  • EMAT
  • Yellow pages
  • B.H.C.C.
  • Sussex Probation Service have a contract with yourselves.
  • On-going working relationship with SIS
  • As a part of our organisation’s translation strategy
  • Part of induction in service
  • through working in same office all those years ago
  • OPCAT Team information shared

Appendix 2

Question 13 If you have used another translation service how does SIS compare? Additional comments

  • SIS is the corporately recommended translation service so we do not use anyone else
  • I have not used any other service and rely on SIS
  • I’ve used service in Australia which is government funded and provides the same kinds of service
  • I haven’t used another
  • I would like my phone calls to be answered and when a message is left for that to be responded to quickly
  • Work in a team which has a block contract with the SIS
  • Please note there is an agreement for my office to use SIS as a service provider, I do not have a choice in the matter. However, I have answered this survey truly and I have always received a good service and translators are always professional and thorough
  • Only used SIS
  • Over the years, we’ve used a number of translating services and originally moved to SIS mainly because it was local and community-based and (we already used SIS for interpreting). However, since then the service has continually improved and is now competitive in all the aspects listed above – all of which are very important!
  • Have not used anyone else
  • I have not used another translation service
  • have never used another service
  • Not used anyone else. Use SIS via work so can’t answer some of the questions
  • Have never used another to compare
  • Every time I have booked a translator with Sussex Interpreting Services I have been very pleased with the excellent service that I have received. Thank you Zina
  • SIS is the corporately recommended translation service so we do not use anyone else
  • not used other services
  • feel the service is very good and accessible
  • have only use this service

Appendix 3

Question 14 Feedback and suggestions


  • (Samuel Boulton, WSCC) – Although we have only used the Sussex Interpreting Service once, I have recommended it to other departments within West Sussex County Council & was impressed with the speed of which our interpreting request was done & also that it was sent in exactly the format requested.
  • (Kim Green, BHCC) – I have had comments from the translator when there have been words or phrases that they were not sure how to translate. This feed back was useful.
  • (Nick Lambley, Fostering and Adoption Team, BHCC) I have only used them on limited occasions for written translations but they have always responded quickly and to my surprise have identified people able to translate Japanese and Indonesian. The service has always been professional and although I have never met any of the workers as always via phone/email they have always seemed very efficient.
  • (John Gammon, South Downs NHS) We have no complaints. SIS has always provided a good service for us and we would recommend it without hesitation.
  • (Mark Walklet, BHCC) – Cannot fault the service when I have used it.
  • (Donna Morritt, BHCC) – Very helpful and quick responses. Go out of their way to accommodate you and your needs.
  • (Martin Campbell, B&H PCT) – I know I can depend on a quick turn-around and accurate, locally appropriate translations from SIS. I also know I can pick up the phone to talk through my needs and that SIS always try to meet those requirements.
  • (anonymous) – Have only ever had positive experience when in contact with SIS colleagues. Always friendly, professional, helpful and efficient – very reliable service.


  • (Sarah Mitchell, OPCAT, BHCC) – I have used SIS services over the past 6 – 12 months Nina has been excellent when she has attended reviews etc and translated.
  • (Vickie Swan, BHCC) – I always receive a prompt reply to my emails but it would be useful for someone to answer the phone when we call, rather than having to leave a message on the answerphone. Also, it would be useful to be able to contact interpreters we use regularly directly, not for booking, but perhaps to find out something 8 that happened during an interpreting session for example. There was one occasion when I needed to speak to an interpreter about something that happened during a contact session. I emailed SIS and requested that the interpreter be asked to contact me, but did not receive a response. Generally, I have received a very good service from SIS.
  • (Stacey Howard, BHCC) – I have used SIS twice recently and found both interpreters to be prompt, professional, kind and understanding. They were sensitive to peoples needs and made me feel comfortable in their presence.
  • (Lynn Muir, BHCC) All I would like to add is a request to be more specific about where to meet with community translators. This is not a criticism but an observation & it applies to me as well, ie: we should be clear about whether we will be waiting inside or outside the meeting place (client’s home, etc).
  • (Joanne Hughes, BHCC) – would be helpful to have feed back from translators as I use them for formal taped interviews under the Police and Criminal Evidence act and would be good to know how to improve flow of communication for cohesive interviews.


  • (Andrea Finch, MACS) – you have always been helpful & patient when i have come to you with queries about your service, but do you produce a guide? it would be useful to have written down your prices, what languages you can/cannot translate or interpret, how much notice is needed for interpreting appointments, or timescales for producing translations, what format do you prefer for translating? what is the best way to contact you? other services which may be useful.
  • ( – the service needs to be more openly publicised it took me several weeks before anyone suggested your service.
  • (anonymous) – Have heard from some partners we work with that when people leave messages for non urgent support, they don’t get phone call back v. quickly. Aware not your priority focus but may want to look at this.