Patient instructions

Interpretation services

The Act on the Status and Rights of Patients obliges us to take your mother tongue and culture into account in treatment situations. If our staff cannot speak the language you use and the staff and you cannot find a common service language, or you cannot be understood due to a sensory or speech disability, we will provide you with an interpreter wherever possible. For this purpose, we must be aware of your need for interpretation. We record the patient’s language of communication and possible need for an interpreter in the personal data of patient documents. It is therefore important that

  • when a physician prepares a referral for specialised medical care, you should ask the physician to indicate any need for interpretation in the referral.
  • when you arrive for treatment, ask the staff to check that your interpretation needs have been recorded in your patient data.

When the place of treatment knows your need for an interpreter in advance, your appointment letter will state that an interpreter has been booked. Appointment letters for patients with a hearing impairment includes the location and time of the meeting with the interpreter. If you do not need the interpreter we have booked, it is important that you report this to the telephone number stated in the appointment letter so that we can cancel the interpretation service.

If you arrive for treatment on an emergency basis or the need for an interpreter is otherwise unknown at the place of treatment, the staff will order an interpreter in accordance with their instructions. In addition to live interpretation, we also use telephone flash interpretation and other remote interpretation methods (telephone/video).

Interpretation services are available 24 hours a day.

The interpreter and their role

The interpreter is under an obligation of professional confidentiality, and must if necessary state their disqualification. The interpreter does not act as an assistant or representative for those receiving interpretation, nor does the interpreter perform any tasks besides interpretation tasks during their assignment. The interpreter does not provide those receiving interpretation with advice or guidance on how to handle matters before, during or after the interpretation, nor do they contact those receiving interpretation before or after the interpretation. (Professional Code of Conduct for Interpreters.) The patient’s relatives can only act as interpreters in the event of sudden treatment until a professional interpreter is available.

Interpretation service for persons with disabilities

Persons with a hearing and sight impairment, hearing impairment or speech impairment who need interpretation due to their disability are entitled to interpretation services. When the need for services is initiated by an authority, the authority shall arrange for interpretation and translation of the matter to persons who require it.

The language of interpretation for those with a hearing impairment is generally Finnish, regardless of the interpretation method. If possible, an effort will be made to arrange interpretation services for the hearing-impaired also in languages other than Finnish.

Interpretation methods for the hearing-impaired

In addition to the need for interpretation, it is also important that a hearing-impaired patient indicate the interpretation method.

Sign language Signed speech Written interpretation Tactile interpretation
An independent language in which the message is expressed through hand and body movements and facial expressions.

The sign languages of different countries differ in their signs and grammar.

Often the mother tongue of a deaf person/severely hearing impaired person since birth.

Sign language signs are signalled in accordance with the word order of the spoken language. An interpretation method in which an interpreter writes what they hear on a computer. The client reads the information from the computer. An interpretation method where an interpreter interprets using sign language or signed speech for a client with a hearing and sight impairment from hand to hand.

The form of communication used by some deaf-blind persons.

Languages used most often by persons who have become deaf later in their life or are hard of hearing. The person may communicate with speech, but needs interpretation to understand what they are told.