Your right to an interpreter

Patients not fluent in Norwegian are entitled to an interpreter.

Foreign women with interpreter
Foto: Johnér Bildbyrå AB
  • It is important that you can freely communicate with health personnel when you need health care.
  • When you are unable to adequately communicate with the health service in Norwegian, it is required to provide you a professional interpreter free of charge.
  • If you are not fluent in Norwegian, please request an interpreter when making an appointment for health care.
  • You are entitled to have an interpreter even if you may speak some Norwegian, especially during consultations on serious and chronic diseases and mental disorders
  • Only the services of a qualified interpreter shall be used
  • Children shall not be used as interpreters
  • When your fluency in Norwegian is limited, and if you still decline the services of an interpreter, health personnel are required to inform you of the adverse effects it may have on your condition

How can you get the most out of an interpreted consultation?

  • ​Please tell the health service your language of choice for the consultation.
  • Please be punctual for the consultation. If you are unable to attend it, please inform the health service 24 hours in advance, otherwise you are required to pay for the appointment
  • Please plan carefully what you want to talk about during your consultation
  • Please use short sentences, speak clearly and stop long enough so that the interpreter can tell everything you have said to whom you consult.
  • Please do not interrupt the interpreter, and both parties must allow the interpreter sufficient time to communicate with them

The interpreter's duties

  • ​An interpreter is required by the criminal law to strictly uphold the confidentiality of every communication between the patient and health personnel
  • The interpreter shall describe to both parties the guidelines on best practice in interpretation at the beginning of the consultation
  • An interpreter shall remain impartial during a consultation
  • An interpreter shall interpret only what is said, and shall not advice or express any personal opinion
  • An interpreter shall not perform any other service either to the patient or to the health personnel

Complaints about the interpreter

​Complaints about the quality and qualifications of an interpreter or the failure of the health service to employ one when required, shall be sent to the institution where you received health care.