Information about the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body's Language Policy and the assistance available for those who use languages other than English.
The use of languages in the Scottish Parliament is determined by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) and set out in its Language Policy (165KB pdf).
Language assistance provided by the Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament wants to make sure that everyone in Scotland can become involved in its work, whatever language they use.
Public Information and Resources is your first point of contact for information and requests in any language. We will assess what is required and help you progress your request.
How can I make an enquiry in my language?
You can write or email the Scottish Parliament or your MSPs in any language. You can also send in a petition or written evidence to a committee in any language. Because we have to arrange interpreting and translation services with external agencies, it is easier to deal with your enquiry in writing or in recordable format e.g. DVDs or videos from British Sign Language (BSL) users.
We are able to accept telephone calls, textphone calls and text messages in English or Gaelic. If you do not speak English, we are happy for a friend or relative to call us on your behalf.
What information is already available in different languages?
Information is available on our website in English and 13 other languages (Arabic, Bengali, BSL, Chinese, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Urdu).
You can order copies of leaflets or documents from Public Information and Resources.
What can I ask for?
To enable you to engage with the Parliament you can ask for information produced by the Scottish Parliament to be translated into the language you use. You can also ask for an interpreter if you are invited to give evidence to a committee meeting or if you need help to engage with parliamentary business. We will assist with all reasonable requests, bearing in mind purpose, timescale and cost. These services are subject to availability and should be booked a minimum of two weeks in advance.
What should I do if I need an interpreter so I can come to an event at the Parliament?
If you require an interpreter to support you during an event, please contact the event organiser of the group that has invited you as early as possible before the event. Please bear in mind that two weeks’ notice is usually the minimum required to obtain the services an interpreter.
How do I get in touch with my MSPs?
You can write to an MSP in any language. If you wish to discuss a matter with an MSP, you can ask them to arrange interpreting services for a meeting.
How long will it take to make arrangements?
Please give as much notice as possible if you need an interpreter. At least two weeks’ notice is normally required, though it may take longer to source interpreters for some languages and where more than one interpreter’s services are required.
Translation of correspondence can usually be arranged within five working days. However, lengthy documents (over 3,000 words), BSL recordings or translations into certain languages may take up to 20 working days.
Will I have to pay for a translation or an interpreter?
The Scottish Parliament does not charge members of the public who reasonably require a translation or who need an interpreter to give evidence to a committee, meet with an MSP or engage in parliamentary business. There are no additional charges for BSL provision.
How can I find out more?
Read the Scottish Parliament Language Policy (PDF 103KB).
You can also contact Public Information and Resources to discuss what you require.
Public Information and Resources
The Scottish Parliament
Telephone: 0131 348 5000 or 0800 092 7500
We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service.
SMS: 0778 620 9888
If you would like to contact us using British Sign Language (BSL), contactSCOTLAND-BSL gives you access to an online video relay interpreting service.