The HSE has spent more than €7m on interpreters and translators over the last two and a half years.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show €3.4m was spent last year alone.
Meanwhile, translation and interpretation services cost the HSE €1.6 million in the first six months of this year.
The Irish Translators and Interpreters Association Chair Dr Mary Phelan told Newstalk doctors need access to quality translators.
“There are lots of languages, lots of people, where there is just no access to interpreters,” she said.
“GPs are trying to manage by using family members of patients, friends of patients, children, neighbours, whoever, as interpreters – or using sign language or using Google Translate which isn’t particularly accurate.”
Dr Phelan said doctors need interpreters to get an accurate medical history from patients.
She warned that there are currently no standards in place for interpreters working in the health service – and called for stricter regulation of the market.
“The interpreters working in the Irish market are, in the main, untrained,” she said.
“Some may have some training from their home country but most are untrained. There is not regulation at the moment of translation and interpreting.
“Everybody else working in the health services and elsewhere you know, had a qualification, they have to meet certain requirements.”