Medical interpreting and cultural mediation are emerging professions in countries where large-scale immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon, and as a result the boundaries of both roles have been unclear and confusing for many health service providers. Both cultural mediation and interpreting has enabled service users from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to access healthcare. However, the roles of medical interpreters and cultural mediators should be seen as separate. In the last six years, a large number of cultural mediators have been trained in Ireland not to be interpreters, but to help immigrants from other countries to access and use healthcare services as well as mediating in situations of conflict between health service providers and patients. Meanwhile, professional interpreters have been hired by the Irish Healthcare Sysyem to bridge the language gap. Codes of ethics for medical interpreters and competencies of cultural mediators must be considered in order to clarify role boundaries and to further explore similarities and differences between the two roles.