The coronavirus has brought numerous changes to American life. However, certain communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus, especially with regard to their healthcare, education, and news access. English is the second language for many living in the United States and some aren’t fluent in it at all. However, there is an easy solution to this problem in the form of access to adequate video remote interpreting services. Here are two communities that have been especially impacted by Covid-19.
1. The Deaf Community and Video Remote Interpreting Services
Despite the increased demand for video remote interpreting services, many states lack sufficient numbers of ASL interpreters to meet this increase. As a result, many ASL patients and students in certain areas of the country are left unable to communicate effectively. Older members of the deaf community have been especially impacted due to the fact that many of them lack the ability to communicate with their family due to social distancing regulations. Public health preparedness must include an ability to adapt to the needs of different language speakers by providing remote simultaneous interpretation. Many state governments have started to incorporate interpreters to great effect. However, some still lag behind.
2. The Non-English Speaking Community and Video Remote Interpreting Services
Those who don’t speak English have also been greatly affected by the virus. Because of the fact that many hospitals don’t have enough interpreters to meet demand, many non-English speaking patients are not able to communicate effectively with their doctors, which can greatly impact their treatment. Communities must have plans for relay emergency medical information and updates to all residents in their primary languages through remote translation services because people with limited English proficiency often do not receive adequate health information. Hospitals and clinics must be required to offer services to patients in their primary languages. This information gap can worsen health disparities. Therefore, local and state governments should invest heavily in finding interpreters to fill this void; an online interpreter could even save someone’s life.
In the public health crisis we have found ourselves in, everyone must know what’s going on to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. Ultimately, these conversations are a step in the right direction. Government officials and health professionals should deploy remote interpreters in order to disperse the correction information to the word. Although the dialogue around Covid-19 is unpredictable, and changing every day, the way we think about languages is changing as well, emphasizing the need for virtual interpreting services
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