Coronavirus: Why Remote Interpreting Is Essential for Refugees

As Covid-19 continues to spread, refugees and asylum seekers around the world are left in a uniquely vulnerable position. Crowded living conditions, lack of clean water, and overburdened medical systems are just a few of the challenge millions of people are facing. Even those who have resettled in nations such as the United States still struggle with language barriers as they try to navigate complex healthcare systems. Fortunately, remote interpreting can help them safely receive medical care and other services they need to thrive in their adopted countries.


Healthcare and Remote Interpreting for Refugees


The United States accepts some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees, including the elderly and those with acute medical needs. Thanks to Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), healthcare professionals can assist refugees via telemedicine without putting patients, interpreters, or themselves at risk for COVID-19. Patients who have been hospitalized can speak through an interpreter virtually, which allows both parties to maintain social distancing.


Yet refugees may not only need care for their physical health, but their mental health as well. Refugees who have experienced trauma may benefit from speaking with a psychologist or other mental health professional. VRI also lets patients safely seek psychiatric care with the help of an interpreter.


The Advantages of Remote Interpreting


In addition to social distancing, remote interpreting offers several advantages for refugees, their advocates, and government entities who serve them. These include the ability to hire an interpreter who:


  • Speaks a rare language when no one is available locally. A refugee from a country such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo may speak one of 242 different languages, making it difficult to find an interpreter who speaks theirs.


  • Can work on short notice. Refugees not only need an interpreter when they receive medical care, but for visits with social services and legal hearings. When appointments get rescheduled, it can leave refugees without anyone to assist them.


  • Has experience working with refugees. While every refugee has a unique story, all have gone through the devastating experience of fleeing their homeland. Many have fled due to genocide or have been victims of torture and abuse. An interpreter who understand the psychological effects these experiences can have will be better equipped to assist both the refugee and the other parties involved.


A More Affordable Solution


Remote interpreting offers another major advantage for organizations and government entities that assist refugees: reduced costs. By hiring a remote interpreter, you can eliminate wait times and the travel expenses that are associated with bringing someone onsite. For organizations that are already stretched financially, this can help keep costs within budget constraints. While onsite interpreting has its own benefits, remote interpreting can fill the gaps when it isn’t possible due to a variety of situations.


For more information about remote interpreting options, contact Boostlingo today.