Norfolk General Hospital launches Voyce; A translation service that removes language barriers in healthcare

Thousands of international farm workers arrive in Norfolk County every year to work in agriculture. They come from countries like Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and other Eastern Caribbean nations. They stay in Norfolk County for defined periods, such as the growing season, before going home for the winter months.

For many, English is not their primary language, and this can present a bit of a challenge if they have an unexpected trip to the hospital’s emergency department and cannot communicate with hospital staff, physicians, and volunteers.

Norfolk County is also a tourist destination that sees people from diverse backgrounds come to enjoy our beautiful beaches, trails, and wineries to name a few. Several tourists who come to visit Norfolk County do not speak English.


The ability for patients and our staff to communicate and understand each other is key to providing high-quality, patient-centered care, especially in the event of an emergency – where every second counts. 


That’s why Norfolk General Hospital has upgraded our translation services to better serve patients and individuals whose first language isn’t English.


The service is called Voyce. 


Voyce is a technology-driven company, which enables seamless communication between providers and patients through language interpreter services. 


The on-demand app offers remote video and audio interpretation in more than 240 languages, including American Sign Language and Indigenous languages such as Cree and Ojibway. The interpreters who connect with healthcare providers and patients are certified and well-equipped with medical expertise to ensure accurate and safe interpretation of healthcare settings.


Using an iPad on an articulate arm of a wheeled stand, the average wait for translations at NGH is now 30 seconds or less. 


“The challenge with the previous translation system that Norfolk General Hospital had in place was that it could take staff up to 45 minutes to connect with a translator, said Cory Fraser, Director of the Emergency Department and ICU.” By upgrading to Voyce, our staff can now connect patients with a translator in 30 seconds or less. This is extremely important because we want to remove any and all language barriers so we can provide the best possible care for our patients and families.”


The most commonly requested languages at NGH are Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, and Low German.


“At Norfolk General Hospital, we are always looking at ways to improve the patient experience as well as providing a more welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for patients and families who require our care, said Kim Mullins, Vice-President Clinical and Chief Nursing Executive. “Norfolk County has a growing diverse population making it imperative that we can communicate easily, safely, and effectively with patients who do not speak English as their primary language. Since we started using this new translation service, it has proven to be helpful not just for patients, but for our staff.”


The Voyce translation service implemented at Norfolk General Hospital was only made possible because of the community’s support. While the province provides funds for hospital operations, the community’s support is vital for the funding of hospital equipment.


To learn more about Norfolk General Hospital’s greatest needs, please contact Penny Bellhouse, Executive Director of the Norfolk General Hospital Foundation at 519-426-0310 ext. 1454 or by email at Thank you for your generosity.


About Voyce Video Remote Interpretation


Voyce provides on-demand, immediate access to a network of interpreters who can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for interpretation in over 240 languages, including American Sign Language. Interpreters are reached via video or audio through the Voyce proprietary mobile application that runs on almost all Apple and Android smartphones and devices, as well as any web-enabled computer. Interpreters can also be reached by simply dialing a phone number. Voyce engages highly qualified, professional medical interpreters. This ensures that our interpreters are fully trained with advanced levels of proficiency in interpreting before going through the internal review program. Learn more here: