Where can I find a phone or in person interpreter for Hakka Chinese?
May 24, 2015 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for someone to help me communicate with my Chinese grandmother who only speaks Hakka, a dialect spoken in her village in Hong Kong. Is there somewhere I could find someone to help me interpret over the phone? We are in Sydney Australia, but would be happy for help from anywhere.

We’re in need of a way to communicate with my grandmother, who’s in a nursing home. Unfortunately, I only speak English and have been having a really difficult time communicating with her over the phone. She knows a few English words, and I know a few Chinese words, so that’s about the extent of our communication.

I was thinking I might be able to find someone to help interpret on a three-way call setup. I call fairly regularly (around once a week), so ideally I'd find something that could be sustainable (although a one-off would still be an improvement). In addition to calls, she’ll need someone to help interpret when we get a physiotherapist to come help her out. For the physiotherapist, ideally we would have someone local who could be there, but I think we could still get by with having a telephone interpreter via speakerphone.

Unfortunately, we can’t rely on family members to help out. So, I was thinking perhaps I could pay someone to help us. Does a service like this exist? Where would I go to find it? And, would be affordable?
posted by strekker to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
AFAIK there are a LOT of Chinese in Australia (one of my grandaunts lived and died there with family) and some of them must speak Hakka.

Furthermore, Google fu yielded this organization in Australia and they do offer Hakka translation esp. for Health care facilities.


And this one:

posted by kschang at 9:19 AM on May 24, 2015

Someone at the Chinese consulate general in Sydney might be able to help you.
posted by brujita at 10:38 AM on May 24, 2015

You're looking for telephonic interpretation, which hospitals and other organizations use. A popular one in the US is called Language Line; not sure if they are in Australia too but I am positive that there are telephonic interpretation companies there. Plus, I am not sure the location is important since I know that they hire interpreters all around the world. Just google "telephonic interpretation" and "Sydney Australia"
posted by bearette at 3:23 PM on May 24, 2015

The sort of thing bearette is referring to is mostly handled by the government Translating and Interpreting Service. Used to be very cheap, now not so cheap but still reasonable.
posted by Pinback at 3:34 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's an online language tutoring resource called italki. If you can find a Hakka speaker who has hours that fit with yours, this might be useful.
posted by Morrigan at 6:07 PM on May 24, 2015

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