Is your Czech not good enough yet and do you need to understand how things work in the Czech Republic and Prague?
Take advantage of free expert counselling in a language you understand!
Contact an intercultural professional on the phone or by email (well in advance, e.g. 3 days ahead).
What can intercultural professionals do for you?
- They will accompany you to a public institution (an office, school, doctor’s surgery…)
- They will help you find your way through the Czech environment and provide you with basic information on life in the CR and Prague (e.g. on a foreigner’s stay in the CR, employment conditions, the education system, healthcare, or the social system)
- They will tell you where to seek help to deal with your situation (give you contacts for lawyers and social workers who offer free assistance and counselling, contacts for public institutions, non-profit organisations, etc.)
They will provide you with tips on how to learn Czech and understand the Czech culture as fast as possible.
- Intercultural Work and Intercultural Professionals
- Community Interpreting and Community Interpreters
Intercultural Work and Intercultural Professionals
Intercultural work is still a new phenomenon in the Czech Republic, however, it is a fast-growing and professionally developing area. Intercultural professionals facilitate effective communication between representatives of the majority society and migrants. In this chapter you will learn what exactly intercultural work is, in what situation you can use the services of an intercultural professional, and where to seek help free of charge. You will also find here a list of intercultural professionals structured based on the languages they speak.
You can contact an intercultural professional if you need mediation of communication with a Czech-speaking party or if you need someone to independently moderate and explain a misunderstanding between you and a Czech-speaking party.
The aim of intercultural work is to provide professional services in the area of assistive professions and public institutions services. These services help break down linguistic and sociocultural barriers between the locals and migrants and contribute towards efficient communication within the intercultural environment. Thanks to these services it is possible to gradually eliminate unprofessional mediation of services which are often close to exploitation. The work of intercultural professionals is not explicitly defined as a social service. However, in 2014 the first educational course, specifically focused on the needs of intercultural professionals, was organised. It was called Qualification Course for Social Services Workers Specialised in Consulting and Assistance for Migrants.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs perceives intercultural professionals as very important and therefore they want to include this profession in the relevant act on social services and provide them with further qualification courses.
The Prague City Hall supports this profession through grants and also provides subsidies for intercultural work within the Prague Integration Centre.
Hlavní město Praha tuto profesi také podporuje nejen prostřednictvím grantů, ale i poskytuje dotace na samotnou interkulturní práci v rámci Integračního centra Praha, o.p.s.
How to find an intercultural expert?
The Integration Centre Prague and some non-governmental non-profit organisations have been providing intercultural expert services on a long-term basis in several languages. Here you can find a list of intercultural experts and their contact details listed according to the languages they speak.
Intercultural professionals offer their services for remuneration as it is a regular job. However, through the organisations listed below you can use the services FOR FREE.
Association for Intercultural Work (AIP)
The Association for Intercultural Work was established in 2014. The aim of the association is to bring together skilled intercultural professionals, support their professional development and provide their services to institutions and individuals.
Integration Centre of Prague
The ICP has long been offering services of intercultural professionals in the following languages: English, Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Arabic.
Services of intercultural professionals are charged as it is not a job performed by volunteers. However, two of the aforementioned organisations provide services FREE OF CHARGE.
Community Interpreting and Community Interpreters
Interpreting has been part of human life since the time when human communities started to communicate with each other through verbal speech. On the one hand, language diversity which represents different perspectives of the world is a great wealth. On the other hand, it also constitutes a practical barrier to communication. Community interpreters are able to overcome language diversity and also know how to deal with cultural differences.
Overcoming a Language Barrier
If you come to a new environment where people speak a different language, you encounter an everyday language barrier. Communication of any kind is difficult for you. If you are lucky, you may come across someone who understands your language or another language you speak and you will be able to talk to each other. However, in many situations you have to deal with people who do not speak your mother tongue.
In modern societies it is common to use interpreting services. They help people deal with situations in which it is essential that the parties understand each other. They are often used in the area of business, law, meetings with international representatives etc. In such cases, interpreting services are a good investment. Thanks to interpreting there will be no language barrier in the communication.
Community interpreters do not only overcome language differences – they also understand cultural differences which often make a stay in a new environment even more difficult. Community interpreters have received professional training in interpreting but if necessary, they are also able to step out of the interpreter’s role and explain some specificities to avoid a potential conflict.
How to Deal with Everyday Situations?
If you live in a country on a long-term basis where a foreign language is spoken, you need to deal with everyday situations which are important and serious, but paying for a commercial interpreter every time you go somewhere would be too expensive. If you need to communicate with directors and school teachers, go to offices or to a doctor, you may consider arranging a community interpreter.
Community Interpreting Service
Community interpreting is a service which was introduced by NGOs which support migrants and their integration several years ago. Most often, community interpreters are migrants who have been living in the CR for a long time and speak Czech as well as their mother tongue, understand needs of people who come to the Czech Republic from abroad, and are well aware of the most common situation in which people need interpreting very well.
Advantages of Community Interpreting
The advantage of community interpreting is that community interpreters have a thorough knowledge of Czech culture and life in the CR as well as knowledge of their clients’ country of origin. They are familiar with the relevant legislation and they know how state administration and important institutions work. They are also able to provide you with useful contacts.
An important quality of community interpreters is intercultural sensitivity. They know that some terms are not easy to translate because sometimes they do not exist in one of the cultures. It is often necessary to accompany interpretation with an explanation for both parties.
Community interpreters are impartial and independent. They are not lawyers who promote only their clients’ interests. Their task is to impartially mediate mutual understanding. That is why they are seen as trustworthy for employees of Czech institutions. Community interpreters work especially in the area of healthcare, education and at administrative offices.
How to Find a Community Interpreter?
Community interpreters often cooperate with organisations which help migrants with their integration. Interpreting services may in some cases be paid for out of state subsidies or other grants.
or you can contact one of the NGOs which cooperate with community interpreters.
To find more information about community interpreting, have a look for example on the website of META, o. p. s.: