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Interpreter services for other purposes

The interpreter services arranged by Kela are founded on the Act on Interpreter Services for the Disabled, and may only be used for the purposes defined in the act.

You may also have a right to interpreter assistance under some other law. In that case interpretation is provided through some other organisation, such as wellbeing services county or a court of law.

Such laws include:

  • Basic Education Act
  • Act on Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Act on the Status and Rights of Patients
  • Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients
  • Administrative Procedure Act
  • Non-discrimination Act

Interpretation in basic education

Under the Basic Education Act, students with disabilities and other special needs have a right to no-cost interpretation.

The municipal authorities are responsible for arranging the needed interpretation

  • in pre-school
  • in basic education
  • at school camp.

The municipality is also responsible for arranging interpreter services for preparatory education for an upper secondary qualification (TUVA) that the municipality is responsible for arranging.

Kela provides interpretation

  • for the basic education of persons who are past the age of compulsory education
  • for before and after school activities

Interpretation in day care

Under the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care, children attending a day care centre or family day care must have a personal educational plan. Among other things, the plan describes the kind of support needed by the child, sets out the support measures implemented, and indicates whether the child needs interpretation and if so, how it is to be arranged.

The interpretation is arranged by the municipal authorities for children who need it during daily activities at day care.

On the other hand, if a child only needs interpretation in a specific situation, it is arranged by Kela.

Such situations can include

  • discussions about the early childhood education plan
  • spring and Christmas celebrations
  • theatre performances
  • swimming instruction.

Please contact the municipal authorities if you would like to learn more about interpretation in basic education and day care.

Interpretation and social services

The wellbeing services counties must provide their clients with reasonable access to interpretation. For example, interpretation must be available to clients who are invited to a meeting with the social services.

Interpretation in healthcare

Wellbeing services counties (such as hospitals) must if at all possible arrange interpretation for patients.

They are responsible for arranging interpretation when inviting patients to, for instance:

  • a medical procedure
  • an examination
  • a laboratory test
  • an imaging test.

In such situations, the wellbeing services county will know in advance that a patient will require an interpreter. Therefore, it has time to arrange for interpretation.

Kela arranges an interpreter

  • if a client of the interpreter service schedules a visit with a doctor
  • If a client of the interpreter service is taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.

If the client has to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time, the wellbeing services county becomes responsible for arranging an interpreter, starting from the time it is able to do so.

Accident or traffic injury

If you have a hearing or speech impairment caused for instance by an accident at work or a traffic injury, you may be eligible for interpreter services under the Employment Accidents Insurance Act or the Motor Liability Insurance Act.

Interpretation in criminal investigation

Under the Criminal Investigation Act, persons speaking some other language than Finnish, Swedish or Sámi have the right to use a language they understand and speak sufficiently well.

This applies also to persons using sign language. The police must arrange an interpreter.

For further information, contact the Centre for Interpreting Services for the Disabled.

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Last modified 11/5/2023

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