How Remote Interpreting Can Bridge Language Barriers in Rural Areas

It’s no secret that cities serve as immigration hubs. Yet an increasing number of new arrivals call rural America home. In fact, immigrants have accounted for 37% of the rural population growth since 2000. While they’ve made a positive impact on these communities, they often face challenges that their city-dwelling counterparts may not. And lack of access to an interpreter is a major one. Fortunately, remote interpreting options make it easier than ever to provide language services, regardless of location.


Urban vs. Rural Immigrant Communities


Before we dive into the benefits of remote interpreting, let’s take a look at some of the differences between urban and rural immigrant communities.


Compared to urban immigrants, rural immigrants are more likely to be Hispanic and non-Hispanic white. Over half of rural immigrants (54.2%) are Hispanic, making them the largest group by far. Non-Hispanic white make up the next largest group (25.9%), followed by Asians (14.3%), and non-Hispanic blacks (2.4%).


When it comes to education and income, rural immigrants typically have less education and are more likely to live in poverty. About two-thirds of rural immigrants have only a high school degree or less compared to half of urban immigrants. And about 31.6% of rural non-citizen immigrants are poor.


However, English language skills are similar between the two groups. Approximately 71% of rural immigrants speak English well, followed by 18.3% who speak some English, and 10% who speak no English.


Rural immigrant communities are also, by their very nature, smaller than urban ones. That poses a significant challenge when it comes to recruiting interpreters and providing languages services when needed.


How Remote Interpreting Can Help


Regardless of their location, immigrants rely on interpreters to help them navigate the healthcare system, legal system, and more. Yet onsite interpreters typically book appointments in advance and charge higher rates due to travel costs. This leaves rural immigrants and the organizations that serve them in a difficult position. Thankfully, remote interpreting options such as video remote (VRI) and over-the-phone (OPI) offer affordable, on-demand alternatives.


Although no virtual interaction can perfectly replicate an in-person experience, VRI helps build trust between speakers and the interpreter by providing an easy-to-use video chat-like option. It works well for telehealth appointments, during court hearings, and other scenarios that involve more personal interactions. However, it does require a high-speed internet connection.


If you don’t have high-speed internet in your area, don’t worry. OPI is still a good option. It also works well when a conversation is shorter and less personal. Scheduling a medical appointment or speaking with a customer service representative are just two scenarios where you may choose OPI over VRI.


Connecting with Boostlingo


With Boostlingo’s interpreting platform, you can connect with an interpreter in minutes using the over-the-phone or video interpreting option. You can even schedule an onsite interpreter for upcoming appointments. Plus, it’s easy to use. All you need is a computer or mobile device, an internet connection, and a webcam for video calls.

Want to try boost Boostlingo for yourself? Contact us today to start your free trial!