Providing Meaningful Access for Languages of Lesser Diffusion

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President, Language Services

As the non-English speaking population grows, so does the need for medical interpreters who are qualified in languages of lesser diffusion. When miscommunication takes place, frustrations run high. Imagine lying in a hospital bed in pain and confusion with no way to effectively communicate your condition to the medical staff. While this scenario may sound ludicrous to any native born English speaker in the United States, it sounds about right to Anita Co, a local resident of Flushing, NY of Filipino-Chinese descent who interprets at New York Hospital of Queens and witnesses the aftermath of miscommunication on a daily basis.

New York Hospital of Queens is located in Flushing, Queens Community District 7, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in all of New York City. where 55.7 percent of residents are foreign-born and 42.8 percent speak English “less than very well,” according to the Department of NYC Planning. Nearly one-third of patients in New York Hospital of Queens are Chinese speaking. In an attempt to provide meaningful access to the Chinese-speaking population, the hospital launched a Community Health Initiatives program.

The program includes a lecture series conducted in Chinese with the rationale that education is only valuable when understood. It aims to educate the community about various health measures, such as stroke prevention. Other lectures include topics such as robotic surgery for women and nasopharyngeal cancer. There is also a Chinese cancer support group for urological cancer.

With New York City being home to nearly 2 million individuals with limited English proficiency, it goes without saying that qualified interpreters are in high demand. In addition to launching the Community Health Initiatives program, New York Hospital of Queens provides translation and interpretation services for a growing number of non-English speaking patients. And the Chinese population does not stand alone. Individuals of Korean and Indian descent make up 13.3% and 8.4% of the Asian population in Flushing, respectfully.

With interpretation services available in person, over video and phone, Stratus Video Language Services are an ideal solution for hospitals with diverse interpreting needs like New York Hospital of Queens. Visit our Language Services page to learn more.

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