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The right to a health care interpreter

Anyone with limited Norwegian proficiency has the right to an interpreter when receiving health care services. 


Anyone with limited Norwegian proficiency has the right to an interpreter when receiving health care services. Good communication and the exchange of information between the patient and health care staff are crucial for ensuring equal access to good quality health care services. Health care staff must sometimes make information and communication accommodations in order to provide adequate medical assistance. It is your right to receive sufficient information about your health condition and treatment in a language you understand. If communication between the health care staff and the patient is not effective, it can put the patient’s life and health in danger. It is the responsibility of the health care staff to assess the patient’s need for an interpreter and to book a qualified interpreter.

Target group

Patients and health care consumers with limited Norwegian proficiency, Sami speakers, the deaf, hearing-impaired and deaf-blind.

Charges/Cost of the service

The interpretation service is an integrated part of the health care services and is free for patients/health care consumers.

Cooperating authorities

  • The Norwegian Directorate of Health, Department for Minority Health and Rehabilitation
  • The Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) – Tolkeportalen and the Norwegian National Register of Interpreters


Section 11e (Prohibition against using children as interpreters) of the Public Administration Act

Chapter 3 The right to patient participation and information of the Patient Rights Act.

Pasient- og brukerrettighetsloven

Guidelines – applying for, or receiving the service

Call the division of health care services that you have an appointment with (general practitioner, health care centre, psychologist or another division) and ask them to book an interpreter for you. Tell the health care service exactly which language you speak. The health care service is obligated to book an interpreter for you. Only qualified interpreters will be used.

Possibilities to appeal; procedure

Unacceptable conduct by the interpreter may, for example, be inadequate or incorrect interpreting, breach of their duty of confidentiality, interfering in the communication on behalf of the parties to the conversation or other factors concerning the interpreter’s behaviour while interpreting.

The Norwegian National Register of Interpreters cannot guarantee the quality of interpretation jobs performed by people in the register, but welcomes feedback from those who use an interpreter. If you feel that an interpreter from the Norwegian National Register of Interpreters does not perform their job in accordance with the regulations for best practices in interpreting, you can report this by sending a letter to the register. Anonymous enquiries will not be processed.

You can write to the Norwegian National Register of Interpreters, Postboks 8059 Dep., 0031 Oslo, ntreg@tolkeportalen.no

If you would like to submit a complaint regarding the failure to use a health care interpreter, you can find the relevant administrative appeal bodies in the “Patients and interpreters” brochure.

Tjenesten oppdatert: 24.02.2022 20:26