A municipal official from Akureyri contends that placing sole emphasis on increasing funding for interpreters will not help immigrants integrate.
Zane Brikovska, a project manager for multicultural matters for the town of Akureyri, told Vísir, “If a person lives in Iceland for seven years and is still asking for an interpreter when they go to their GP, it’s natural that state and local authorities would become resentful and reluctant to increase funding for interpreters.”
Zane contends that what state and local authorities should be doing is increasing funding for Icelandic classes, but also making sure that the quality of the classes is up to par.
Whilst she maintains that if Icelandic classes were of higher quality, “there would be no need to charge state and local officials for interpreter services,” she admits that there are always going to be exceptions – for example, those arriving in Iceland late in life who might have great difficulty learning a new language.
The Grapevine would add that this would also apply to pretty much anyone who first arrives in Iceland, as learning Icelandic can take a considerably long time, even for those who are good at learning languages and have access to high-quality Icelandic classes.
As reported, several public offices have been shown to not offer interpreter services to immigrants, despite the fact that they are legally obliged to do so.
By Icelandic law, immigrants have the right to an interpreter in the health care field, in legal proceedings, in the school and social system, and in public insurance and health insurance matters. For more information, we encourage you to visit the city page offering services for immigrants in many languages.