Interpreter services available from other sources

The interpreter service arranged by Kela is based on the Act on Interpreter Service for the Disabled. You are not entitled to the service if you already receive sufficient interpreter service on the basis of some other legislation.

Such legislation includes e.g.:

  • Basic Education Act
  • Act on the Status and Rights of Patients
  • Act on the Status of Clients in Social Services
  • Administrative Procedure Act
  • Non-Discrimination Act.

Interpretation in basic education

According to the Basic Education Act, a disabled child or a child with special educational needs has the right to get interpretation free of charge.

The municipality shall arrange interpretation for the pupil for

  • basic education
  • camp school
  • pre-primary education (so-called preschool)
  • prolonged compulsory schooling (former 10th grade).

Kela arranges interpreter service

  • if a person who has passed the age for compulsory education pursues basic education studies
  • for before- and after-school activity.

Interpretation in day care

According to the Act on Early Childhood Education, an individual early childhood education plan must be drawn up for every child in a day care centre or family day care. The plan must include e.g. description of the child’s need of support, supportive measures, possible need of interpretation and ways of implementing the measures.

If the child needs interpretation in the everyday activities of the day care centre, the municipality has to arrange this.

Kela can arrange an interpreter to the day care centre if the child exceptionally needs an interpreter for a specific event where the child cannot manage without special arrangements.

Such situations include e.g.:

  • discussions related to the early childhood education plan, e.g. appraisal discussion  
  • day care centre’s spring and Christmas parties
  • theatre arranged by the day care centre
  • swimming school arranged by the day care centre.

Contact your municipality of residence for more information about interpreter service in basic education and day care.

Interpretation at the social services office

Insofar as feasible, the social services shall arrange interpreter service for the client. When for instance the social services invite the client to a meeting, the social services are liable to arrange interpreter service.

Interpretation in health care services

Insofar as feasible, the health care provider (e.g. hospital) shall arrange interpreter service for the patient.

The health care provider is liable to arrange interpreter service when it sends the patient an invitation to

  • medical procedures
  • examinations
  • laboratory tests
  • x-ray.

In such situations, the health care provider knows beforehand that the patient needs interpreter service. It is thus possible to arrange an interpreter in time.

Kela arranges interpreter service

  • if you yourself schedule an appointment with a doctor
  • if you are hospitalised following an emergency (e.g. you have a sudden attack of illness and are taken to hospital).

If you have to stay in hospital for a longer period, the liability to arrange an interpreter is shifted to the health care provider from the moment when it is possible for them to arrange an interpreter.

Industrial accident or traffic accident

If your hearing impairment or speech impairment is due to for instance an industrial accident or a traffic accident, you may be entitled to interpreter service on the basis of the Employment Accidents Insurance Act or the Motor Liability Insurance Act.

Interpretation in criminal investigation 

According to the Criminal Investigation Act, persons other than those speaking Finnish, Swedish or Sami have the right in the criminal investigation to use a language that they understand and speak sufficiently.

Persons using sign language have the right to use this. The police shall ensure that the person receives the interpretation that he or she needs.

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