Thursday, April 09, 2009

Cheaper, cheaper.. and on video

I said a few months ago that when the recession really hits, governments will tighten expenditure precisely where there will be the least complaints - NESBS, even if they do complain, do so in languages alien to the governmental ears. I predicted that whereas translators may survive the worse - if they navigate the waters correctly - community interpreters will fare much worse.

Now, it has been our experience that what Uncle Sam does, ACT will soon adopt. So beware, my down-trodden colleagues who refuse to consider other income-making options. Here we go:

Illinois hospitals enlisting video translators

Under live system hospitals with patient diversity do not have to communicate via children or expensive in-person translators

Worried about the potential for medical errors as the number of non-English speakers grows, Illinois hospitals are rolling out a live video system that can translate from medical-care providers to patients in 150 languages(...) Translators, versed in medical jargon and health-care terminology, are available by video or telephone 24 hours a day and can be seen on the system's portable screen that sits atop a mobile cart. (...) Hospitals say the system is cheaper and more efficient than the traditional method of helping patients who can't speak English. It costs 80 cents per minute to use the Illinois Video Interpreter Network, compared with several times that to hire interpreters who often require a two- or three-hour minimum of service, said Michael King, director of development for the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council.

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