Skip to main content
Migration and Home Affairs


In the migration context, a professional who is expected to convert oral communication from a source language (language/s of the country of origin of a migrant) to a target language (language of the host country) and vice versa to ensure appropriate communication between migrants and staff of public authorities in particular who do not speak the same language.


Developed by EMN.


  • BG: устен преводач
  • CS: tlumočník
  • DE: Dolmetscher
  • EL: διερμηνέας
  • EN: interpreter
  • ES: Intérprete
  • ET: tõlk
  • FI: tulkki
  • FR: interprète
  • GA: ateangaire
  • HU: tolmács
  • IT: interprete
  • LT: vertėjas
  • LV: tulks
  • MT: Interpretu
  • NL: Tolk
  • PL: tłumacz
  • PT: intérprete
  • RO: interpret
  • SK: tlmočník
  • SL: tolmač
  • SV: tolk
  • NO: tolk
  • KA: თარჯიმანი
  • UK: Перекладач

Related Term(s)

  • cultural mediator


  1. The role of interpreters in asylum and migration procedures is expected to provide accurate and complete message transfer into the target language and vice versa preserving the content and intent of the source message without omission or distortion.
  2. Art. 15(c) of Directive 2013/13/EU (Recast Asylum Procedures Directive set standards for interpreters in international protection procedures and requires to select an interpreter who is able to ensure appropriate communication between the applicant and the person who conducts the interview. The communication shall take place in the language preferred by the applicant unless there is another language which they understand and in which they are able to communicate clearly. Wherever possible, EU Member States shall provide an interpreter of the same sex if the applicant so requests, unless the determining authority has reasons to believe that such a request is based on grounds which are not related to difficulties on the part of the applicant to present the grounds of their application in a comprehensive manner.
  3. 3. UNHCR has published guidelines for interpreters in asylum procedures, see Handbook for Interpreters in Asylum Procedures, 2017.
  4. Interpretation and cultural mediation are two facets of interpersonal communication. The key difference between a (linguistic) interpreter and a cultural mediator is that an interpreter passively conveys the messages from one language to another and as accurately as possible, whereas a cultural mediator focuses on the complex and at the same time interdisciplinary character of communication by explaining the meaning of behaviours, symbols and rituals from one culture to people from another culture. Furthermore, interpretation is a registered profession with all legal rights therefore a professional interpreter has to follow certain standards and a code of conduct. For more information see: Erasmus+and Train Intercultural Mediators for a Multicultural Europe: Research report on intercultural mediation for immigrants in Europe, 2015.