Skip to Content

Interpretation and translation are regulated by law

According to the Integration Act, it must be ensured when providing services to a client who has immigrated to Finland that the client understands the matters that concern him/her. The Integration Act states that, in accordance with the Language Act, the authority in question must, if necessary, provide an interpreter or a translation. Interpretation is also required in other legislation, such as the Administrative Procedure Act, Aliens Act and the Act on the Status and Rights of Patients. 

Integration legislation ensures that the State reimburses local authorities, within the limits of the state budget, the costs of interpreting and translation services in the reception of refugees (Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration, Sections 2(2) and 2(3)). In the case of persons who have immigrated to the country on other grounds, the authority that requested the interpreter – usually the local authorities or Employment and Economic Development (TE) Office of the client’s place of residence – pays the costs of interpreting services.

There are numerous businesses providing interpreting and translation services in Finland. Interpretation services are available in almost 100 languages. Despite this, it is not always easy to find suitable interpretation services, especially in the same area as the client. The availability of services also varies within Finland.

Remote interpreting can be used to overcome these limitations. Remote interpreting is preferred when the matter being discussed does not require the interpreter to be present in person. Remote interpretation improves the availability of interpreters, and its use has become more common.

Multilingual and plain language content help get the message across

Providing materials and communication in the person’s own language or in plain language improves access to services and communication between the client and employee.

Most authorities provide material in the most commonly spoken languages but depending on the situation, the selection languages and materials could be improved. In emergencies and unusual situations, for example, multilingual and plain language communication and materials support equality and intelligibility. Multilingual content and the use of plain language is also necessary in established daily communication and the organisation’s activities. For this reason, the possibility of translating various content or rewriting them in plain language should be considered from the perspective of the target group’s needs. 

Our online service contains multilingual materials and tips on how to produce content and communicate multilingually and plain language.

Read more:
Act on the Promotion of Immigrant Integration 
Language Act
About interpreter centres and interpreter services
Basic information about Finland in different languages
Multilingual materials
Producing multilingual materials
Plain language
The Finnish Centre for Easy to Read