hispanic translator

Did you know? September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month! Established in 1988, it commemorates the contributions, cultures, and heritage of Hispanic Americans. In honor of this occasion, we’re highlighting the works of influential Latin American interpreters and translators throughout history.

 

Marina “La Malinche” (c. 1500 – 1529)

 

A Nahua woman from the Mexican Gulf coast, Marina served as an interpreter, advisor, and negotiator for the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. She was given to the Spanish by the Tabasco Indians, and would go on to play a vital role in the conquest of the Aztec Empire.

 

Born Malintzin, she was later baptized as a Catholic and named Marina. She also gave birth to Cortés’s first son, making her the symbolic mother of Mexico. To this day, she remains a controversial figure as both a victim of conquest and a traitor to her homeland.

 

Gaspar Antonio Chi (c. 1531 – 1610)

 

Also known as Gaspar Antonio de Herrera, Gaspar Antonio Chi was a Mayan noble and interpreter for King Charles V of Spain. He primarily interpreted between Spanish and Mayan languages, but also understood Latin.

 

During his sessions with Charles V, he recounted life under colonial rule and provided vital information about geography, the Mayan people, and cultures in the Yucatan. Chi also served as a primary source for Diego de Lana’s book Relacíon de las cosas Yucatan, which catalogued Mayan words, phrases, and hieroglyphics.

 

Jorge Luis Borges (1899 – 1986)

 

Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentinian fiction writer, poet, essayist, and translator. He is best known for his short story collections, which helped introduce Argentinian literature and culture to the wider world.

 

A gifted translator, Borges translated “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde into Spanish when he was just nine years old. He went on to translate the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf, among other authors.

 

Gregory Rabassa (1922 – 2016)

 

Born to Cuban emigres in Yorkers, New York, Gregory Rabassa was a literary translator and university professor. He translated both Spanish and Portuguese literature into English.

 

Rabassa is best known for translating works by major Latin American novelists such as Julio Cortázar, José Amado, and Gabriel García Márquez—including his seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. He received a PEN Translation Prize in 1977 and the PEN/Ralph Manheim Translation Prize in 1982.

 

He also taught at Columbia University and Queens College in New York City for many years.

 

Are there any Hispanic linguists you’d like to celebrate this month? Let us know in the comments!

Celebrating Deaf Awareness Month 2021

Did you know? September is Deaf Awareness Month! Launched in 1958 by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), the initiative celebrates the history, cultures, and communities of deaf people around the world. It corresponds with the International Week of Deaf People and the International Day of Sign Languages.

 

International Week of Deaf People 2021 (September 20th – 26th)

 

While the entire month is dedicated to recognizing deaf people and their contributions, the International Week of Deaf People is of particular importance. The week, which commemorates the first World Congress of the WDF, focuses on the triumphs of deaf people and the challenges they still face.

 

This year, events will be hosted worldwide from Monday, September 20th to Sunday, September 26th. Daily themes include:

 

  • Cherishing Deaf History – Monday, September 20th
  • Sustainable Deaf Leadership –Tuesday, September 21st
  • Sign Languages for All Deaf Learners – Wednesday, September 22nd
  • We Sign for Human Rights – Thursday, September 23rd (This is also International Day of Sign Languages).
  • Intersectional Deaf Communities – Friday, September 24th
  • Deaf Culture and Arts – Saturday, September 25th
  • Human Rights in Times of Crisis – Sunday, September 26th

 

All members of the worldwide deaf community are welcome to participate, including families of the deaf, sign language interpreters, and members of human rights and disability rights organizations.

 

How You Can Support Deaf Communities

 

If there are no events near you, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved and support your local deaf community. Below are just eight possibilities:

 

  1. Start learning sign language. (You can sign up for free lessons here).
  2. Share information about sign language families, including Black American and indigenous
  3. Follow Deaf YouTube creators and share their content on social media. Don’t forget to include #IWDP and #IDSL in your posts.
  4. Support deaf-owned businesses.
  5. Advocate for deaf accessibility in your community.
  6. Advocate for the use of Certified Deaf Interpreters at work or within your community.
  7. Volunteer at a nonprofit that assists the deaf or advocates for disability rights.
  8. Contact your representatives to advocate for the rights of deaf people.

 

Bonus: If you know someone who is deaf, ask them about their experiences. Simply being willing to listen and learn about the deaf experience can go a long way to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds.

How are you planning to celebrate Deaf Awareness Month? Let us know in the comments!

Afghan Interpreters

Despite efforts to assist vulnerable Afghans during the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan, tens of thousands remain in danger. Those who assisted U.S. and NATO troops—including interpreters—are among the highest risk of being arrested or killed by the Taliban.

 

As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters and other refugees can resettle in the UK and how our readers can help them.

 

For U.S. resources, click here. For Canadian resources, click here.

 

Government Programs

 

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy

 

Great Britain has announced plans to accept 5,000 Afghans during the first year of its Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). The program, which will remain open indefinitely, offers relocation and other assistance to current and former Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan.

 

Under this policy, any current or former Locally Employed Staff directly employed by HMG whose life is at risk can apply for ARAP. This is regardless of employment status, rank or role, or length of time served.

 

Eligible Afghans can apply through an online form, regardless of their current location—including Afghanistan.

 

Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme

 

The country also plans to accept up to 20,000 Afghan refugees in the long term under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme. This scheme aims to resettle Afghan nationals who are most vulnerable, including women, girls, and religious minorities. The British government is urgently working to open this route and will announce further details once they’re available.

 

How You Can Help

 

If you’d like to help Afghans who are resettling in the UK, here are three organizations that are accepting donations and need volunteers.

 

Refugee Council

 

Founded in 1951, the Refugee Council works directly with refugees in the UK. The organization helps them integrate into their new communities, provides mental health services, and assists children who have arrived alone.

 

If you’d like to donate online, you can do so here. You can also host fundraising events or volunteer.

 

Care4Calais

 

The volunteer-run charity Care4Calais works with refugees in the UK, France, and Belgium. It provides direct aid through donations of clothing, shoes, cell phones, and other essential items.

 

You can donate items at your nearest drop off location or purchase a welcome pack, which will be given to an Afghan refugee in need. If you’d like to volunteer, contact [email protected].

 

British Red Cross  

 

The British Red Cross, which is on the ground in all 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces, is also collecting donations to assist Afghans who have relocated to the UK. Staff and volunteers are providing emotional support and essential items, including clothing, blankets, hygiene products, and baby supplies.

 

If you’d like to donate to, click here. You can also get involved by raising funds or by volunteering.

 

Remember, whether it’s donating, volunteering, or simply sharing this information, the smallest action can make a big difference!

 

As the situation remains fluid, we encourage you to leave information about any other legitimate organization in the comments. We will keep this article up-to-date as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.

Afghan Interpreters

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has sent the country spiraling into a humanitarian crisis. Although at least 12,000 Afghans have been evacuated via the Kabul airport, tens of thousands of others remain in danger. Those who supported the United States and NATO troops—including interpreters—are at the highest risk of being arrested or killed.

 

As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters can apply for refugee status in Canada and how our readers can help them. For resources on U.S. visa programs and nonprofits, click here.

 

Special Programs for Afghan Interpreters and Other Refugees

 

The Canadian government has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 refugees through Special Programs. These include a special program for:

 

  • Afghan nationals and their families who assisted the Canadian government.
  • Afghan nationals who don’t have a durable solution in a third country, including
    • Women leaders
    • Human rights activists
    • LGBTI individuals
    • Journalists and people who assisted Canadian journalists
    • Immediate family members of one of the above
    • Extended family members of previously resettled interpreters who assisted the Canadian government.

 

To apply, write an email to [email protected] and include:

 

  • Your full name
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Description of work with the Canadian government including:
    • Your title or position
    • Identification number, if you have one
    • Name(s) of current Canadian point(s) of contact, if possible
  • Copy of your passport and passport for each eligible family member traveling with you, if possible

 

Please note: You don’t need to be in Afghanistan or return to Afghanistan to be eligible.

 

How You Can Help

 

If you’d like to help Afghans who are awaiting refugee status or have already arrived in Canada, here are three organizations that are accepting donations and need volunteers.

Veteran Transition Network is a veteran-led nonprofit organization that has set up an emergency fund to provide shelter and support for interpreters and their families. Donations go toward immediately helping Afghans by paying for interim housing and a living wage for those awaiting permission to enter Canada.

 

You can donate online, via check, or write transfer or security. If you’d like to volunteer, click here.

 

Afghan-Canadian Interpreters is an initiative made up of civilian volunteers, veterans, and serving members of the Canadian armed forces. It provides interpreters and their families with the expenses required for the relocation process.

 

You can send donations via e-transfer to [email protected] or via check. If you’d like to volunteer, email [email protected].

 

Islamic Relief Canada provides emergency aid in disaster zones which includes food packages and hygiene and water storage kits. The organization has been on the ground in Afghanistan for twenty years and is asking for donations to assist those who have been displaced.

 

You can donate online here. If you’d like to volunteer, click here.

 

Whether it’s donating money, volunteering, or simply sharing with your network, we encourage you to help however you can!

 

Since the situation remains incredibly fluid, we encourage you to include any other legitimate, proven organization in the comments which may be of help. We will keep this article updated with information as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.

Who Are Hmong Americans?

U.S. gymnast Suni Lee made headlines when she won gold in the women’s individual all-around event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Yet her win did much more than demonstrate her athletic prowess—it shined the spotlight on the most marginalized Asian community in the United States: Hmong Americans. As the first Hmong American Olympian, she represents a little-known, often underserved community that has made significant contributions to the country.

 

Who are the Hmong people?

 

The Hmong people are an ethnic group that traces their roots to southern China. Today, the majority of them live in southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Other countries with significant Hmong populations include: the United States, Australia, France, and Canada.

 

Much of their migration throughout Asia and the West has been motivated by persecution, genocide, and war. As a result, many people of Hmong descent speak the language of their adopted homeland as well as or instead of Hmong, their heritage language. In addition to Hmong, many people speak Chinese, Thai, Laotian, French, English, or Burmese.

 

A Brief History of Hmong Communities in America

 

As of 2019, approximately 327,000 people of Hmong ancestry live in the United States. However, despite their small numbers, they’ve made an outsized impact on the country’s history.

 

In the early 1960s, the CIA Special Activities Division recruited, trained and led Hmong soldiers in Laos against the invading North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. This “Secret Army” was organized into several mobile regiments and divisions, including various Special Guerilla Units.

 

After the Vietnam War ended, thousands of Hmong escaped to Thailand, where they lived in refugee camps. About 90% of them eventually resettled to the U.S. The rest resettled in Canada, France, the Netherlands, and Australia.

 

U.S. Metropolitan Areas with the Largest Hmong Populations

 

Like Suni Lee, the majority of Hmong Americans live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area. However, there are several other large Hmong communities throughout the U.S. Below is a list of the ten largest:

 

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: 81,000 Hmong residents
  • Fresno, CA: 35,000
  • Sacramento, CA: 27,000
  • Milwaukee, WI: 11,000
  • Hickory, NC: 8,000
  • Stockton, CA: 7,000
  • Detroit, MI: 7,000
  • Merced, CA: 6,000
  • Wausau, WI: 6,000
  • Sheboygan, WI: 5,000

 

Compared to other Asian American groups, Hmong are typically poorer and less likely to be proficient in English. Roughly 17% of Hmong Americans live in poverty compared to 10% of all Asians and 13% of Americans overall. At the same time, 68% of Hmong Americans report that they’re proficient in English, compared to 72% of Asian Americans overall.

 

Language Services for Hmong Communities

 

Given the large minority of Hmong Americans who aren’t proficient in English, language barriers pose a major challenge for these communities. Fortunately, remote interpreting options makes it easier than ever to connect with a Hmong interpreter who can assist with everything from healthcare to legal and social services.

 

With the Boostlingo interpretation platform, you can connect with an interpreter in minutes either over-the-phone (OPI) or video remote (VRI). All you need is a high-speed internet connection and a computer or tablet with a webcam for video calls. Plus, you’ll gain access to our Boostlingo Professional Interpreting Network (BPIN), which supports less commonly spoken languages, including Hmong, Laotian, Burmese, and Thai.

 

Think Boostlingo is right for you? Contact us today to start your free trial!

VRI

Thanks to advances in video technology, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation services are more accessible than ever. Today, deaf individuals and the organizations that serve them can connect with an interpreter remotely instead of working with someone onsite. This not only makes it easier for ASL users to communicate—no matter where they are—but also reduces wait times and interpreting costs. And although connecting with a remote ASL interpreter has never been easier, it’s important to understand the difference between the two services available: VRS and VRI.

 

What Is VRS?

 

Video Relay Service (VRS) allows someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with a hearing person via telephone. The VRS caller uses a television or computer with a camera and an internet connection to contact an interpreter. They communicate in ASL through a video link. The interpreter then places a telephone call to the person the ASL user wishes to call. The interpreter relays the conversation in ASL with the VRS user and by voice with the hearing party. When a hearing person calls a deaf person, the call is also routed via VRS.

 

This service is available 24/7, and is free for the ASL user and the hearing person on the call. It’s paid for by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

 

What Is VRI?

 

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) allows someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to communicate using video conferencing technology. The ASL user can make calls from a remote location or access an interpreter remotely while they’re onsite. For example, a deaf person can have a telemedicine appointment with a doctor using VRI. Or they can use VRI onsite at a medical facility when no ASL interpreters are available.

 

VRI calls can be made on-demand or scheduled in advance. Some language service providers offer 24/7 service. Like onsite interpreting, interpreters charge per minute, and the organizations that hire them pay the costs.

 

Advantages of VRI

 

Although both services fulfill communication-related mandates under the ADA, VRI does have a couple of advantages over VRS.

 

As we noted above, you can use VRI whether the deaf and hearing individuals are in the same room or all three parties are in separate locations. VRS, by FCC regulation, can’t provide free interpreting services when the two parties wishing to communicate are in the same room.

 

The other advantage is that VRI allows all three parties to see each other. This is important because ASL includes facial expressions and body language that can change the meaning of what someone is saying. VRI better replicates the onsite interpreting experience, which reduces the possibility of miscommunication.

 

VRI and Boostlingo  

 

With the Boostlingo platform, you can connect with a remote ASL interpreter on-demand. Our ASL/24 Service makes it easy to assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals in healthcare, legal, and numerous other settings, even after hours. All you need is a high-speed internet connection and a computer or web cam to get started.

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today!

News of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has shaken the world. As thousands of Afghans flee the capital city of Kabul, thousands of others remain in danger. Those who supported the U.S. military and NATO troops—including interpreters—are at an even higher risk of being arrested or killed.

On behalf of the Boostlingo team, we’d like to extend our support to Afghan interpreters, their families, and other refugees who are risking their lives. As part of our commitment to the interpreting community, we’ve compiled information on how interpreters can apply for a U.S. visa and how our readers can help them.

Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Interpreters

Since 2008, roughly 70,000 Afghan interpreters and their families have arrived in the U.S. on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). However, the over 20,000 interpreters who remain in the country are targets for the Taliban. Interpreters who have attempted to flee in recent weeks have been shot or beheaded due to their support for the U.S. and NATO troops. And those who have applied for an SIV face a long, difficult journey ahead.

The SIV program, which has helped tens of thousands, includes a complex 14-step application process. It’s also severely backlogged—with an estimated three-and-a-half-year waiting period before approval. This leaves interpreters and other applicants in a dangerous stage of limbo.

How You Can Help

While the situation may feel hopeless, there are steps you can take to help. Below is a list of resources to assist Afghan interpreters, their families, and other refugees.

Nonprofits

No One Left Behind seeks to revamp the State Department’s SIV application process and ease the transition for refugees who resettle in the U.S. Right now, they’re helping Afghans in the process of applying for an SIV, if they have a case number. They accept donations, and $0.76 of every dollar goes to SIV families.

Keep Our Promise offers resettlement assistance to “endangered wartime allies who served U.S. interests in conflict and war zones.” They also provide information on how Afghans living in the U.S. can file for “Humanitarian Parole” for family members who are still in Afghanistan. They accept donations from individuals and groups.

Evacuate Our Allies is a coalition of nonprofits that are working together to evacuate and resettle Afghan allies who are in the SIV process and other vulnerable Afghans. They are having issues housing Afghan refugees who have made it to the U.S. If you’d like to volunteer in any way, including housing a family, fill out this form or send an email to [email protected].

U.S. Representatives and Resources

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has created a form where you can request information on a refugee or provide information on how best to assist them.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) also has a form you can fill out to help the State Department connect with individuals on the ground who require assistance.

U.S. Department of the State

If you know Afghans who need to be evacuated, email [email protected] Include a copy of the passport page with a photo and any other forms of identification, a brief explanation of why they’re at risk, your email, and the emails and mobile phone numbers for the Afghans in Kabul who need to get out.

Whether it’s donating money, contacting your representative, volunteering, or simply sharing this information with your network, we encourage you to help however you can!

This picture taken on August 14, 2021 shows a Qatar Airways aircraft taking-off from the airport in Kabul. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

If you know Afghans who need to be evacuated, send an email to [email protected] that includes a copy of the passport page with photo image of the Afghans along with any other forms of identification; such as a Taskera (Afghan identity card); a brief explanation of why these people are at risk; and your email along with the emails and mobile phone numbers for the Afghans in Kabul who need to get out.

The situation is incredibly fluid right now, and because of that, we encourage you to include any other legitimate, proven organizations in the comments which may be of help. We will keep this article updated with information as the humanitarian crisis unfolds.

 

Did you know? One in 10 U.S. residents of childbearing age has limited English proficiency (LEP). That means millions of parents face language barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare for their children. Fortunately, video remote interpreting (VRI) can help improve patient outcomes and satisfaction for LEP families. 

 

In this article, we explore the benefits of VRI in children’s healthcare and see how it compares to other methods of interpretation. 

 

Los Angeles Children’s Hospital: A Study in VRI

 

From 2012 to 2017, researchers conducted a study to evaluate the implementation of VRI at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). The healthcare system, which serves patients throughout Southern California, already offered in-person and over-the-phone (OPI) interpretation services. 

 

Researchers rolled out 165 VRI carts and iPads in clinics, inpatient wards, and the emergency department. Staff in each department received support through six weeks of training and problem-solving issues. Additional rollouts occurred in groups every two to four months.  

 

Despite some initial challenges, the program was an overwhelming success. Over 50,600 VRI appointments occurred for a total of 556,938 interpretation minutes. Meanwhile, the use of OPI decreased by 37.5%, and the mean wait time for an interpreter fell from 60 minutes to 5 minutes. Rapid VRI adoption also occurred in clinics that lacked in-person interpreters. 

 

Increasing Access to Children’s Healthcare 

 

Initially, CHLA Pulmonary and Orthopedic Clinics used VRI the most per minute. As VRI supplemented in-person interpreting, the annual census for the Pulmonary Clinic increased by 1,000 patients. The use of language services rose from 4 in-person meetings per month to 129 per month, 96.9% of which were VRI. 

 

Additionally, VRI usage increased: 

 

  • 755.9% in the emergency department
  • 583.6% in the endocrinology clinic. 

 

It also increased substantially in outpatient settings through the use of iPads. 

 

VRI vs. Other Interpretation Methods

 

During interviews, clinical teams reported that VRI offered a more engaging, interactive, and readily available alternative to in-person and OPI for far more languages than staff interpreters. It also reduced wait times, appointment times, and improved patient satisfaction. However, staff still preferred in-person interpreters for more complex appointments. 

 

Yet VRI also offers benefits for in-person interpreters. Researchers found that VRI freed up time for in-person interpreters to attend professional conferences and undergo additional training. 

 

Overall, VRI proved to be beneficial for patients, clinical staff, and in-person interpreters. 

 

VRI at Boostlingo

 

While VRI doesn’t replace the need for in-person and over-the-phone interpreting, it does serve as a great alternative in many medical scenarios. But to fully enjoy the benefits, you need a platform that makes it easy to connect. Enter BoostCare Telehealth, the telehealth system that leverages the world’s number one interpretation platform. 

 

With BoostCare, you can connect with patients quickly and effectively—as well as suppliers and other support services. Plus, you’ll gain access to our Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages. 

 

Think Boostlingo is right for you? Contact us today to start your free trial! 

 

 

 

Advances in technology have made video remote interpreting (VRI) more popular—and accessible—than ever. Although VRI has existed since the 1990s, it took the rise of mobile communication in the late 2000s for this “new” interpretation method to take off. Finally, video calls were possible without downloading expensive software, which opened up a new world of interpreting. 

 

With VRI, clients could connect with an interpreter in minutes. They no longer needed to schedule appointments in advance, nor did they need to pay for transportation costs. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that VRI would become a vital part of how people communicate across language barriers. 

 

In this article, we take a look at three of the biggest VRI trends in our post-pandemic world. 

 

VRI in Healthcare

 

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare providers used VRI primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms. This made communicating with deaf and limited English proficiency (LEP) patients faster and easier, as they no longer needed to wait for an onsite interpreter. 

 

While VRI is still commonly used in those settings, much of its growth is due to the rise of telehealth. When healthcare providers began encouraging patients to schedule virtual appointments, it resulted in a 50% increase in VRI use. And as patients become more comfortable using telehealth platforms, it will only continue grow.  

 

VRI in the Courtroom     

 

The adoption of VRI had been slower in the legal field. While over 50% of hearing that required an interpreter in Florida involved VRI in 2019, this wasn’t the norm throughout the U.S. However, as the pandemic forced courtrooms around the country to close their doors, they still needed a way to ensure justice was served. So, judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals turned to virtual communications.

 

As a result, many jurisdictions discovered that virtual hearings are actually more efficient for certain types of cases. That means the use of VRI in the courtroom is likely to continue to rise long after the pandemic ends.    

 

VRI in Business 

 

It’s no secret that the pandemic brought global business travel to a halt. Suddenly, corporate meetings and events went from in-person to online, and Zoom became part of the zeitgeist. However, traditional video conference platforms offered an imperfect solution when it came to interpreting. 

 

To meet the need for interpreting services, VRI platforms such as Boostlingo made it possible to integrate with Zoom and other video conference platforms. The result? Companies discovered that many types of meetings can be conducted just as effectively online. 

Boostlingo and VRI

 

As you can see, VRI represents the future of interpreting. That’s why we’re always working to improve our platform to better serve our clients. From telehealth to Zoom integrations, we’ve adapted to meet the changing needs of the interpreting industry. 

 

Best of all, the Boostlingo platform is fast and easy to use. All you need is a high-speed internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone with a webcam. 

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today! 

 

 

 

Construction Interpreters

Immigrants have always made up a large percentage of the U.S. construction industry, and that’s no less true today. As of 2016, they accounted for nearly 25% of the overall construction workforce and 30% of the trades. In states such as California and Texas, the number of non-native workers rises to over 40%.

 

While their backgrounds and country of origin vary, limited English proficiency (LEP) is one thing many of them have in common. And that’s where construction interpreters come in.

 

Immigrants in the Construction Industry

 

Before we delve into how construction interpreters can improve workplace efficiency and safety, let’s get to know the workforce a little better.

 

Immigrants work at all levels in the construction industry—from unskilled laborers to master tradespersons. However, the concentration of immigrants is especially high in trades that are needed to build homes. The trades with the greatest percentage of immigrants include:

 

  • Plasters and stucco masons (54%)
  • Drywall installers, ceiling installers, and tapers (49%)
  • Painters and paperhangers (48%)
  • Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers (46%)

 

The large number of immigrants in these trades is due, in part, to native-born workers leaving the industry after the economic recovery in 2016. Yet despite the need for immigrant labor, language barriers pose a significant problem for construction companies.

 

The Role of Construction Interpreters   

 

Although it may seem more cost-efficient to rely on bilingual workers to communicate with their LEP colleagues, there are several reasons why construction companies shouldn’t.

 

First and foremost, construction interpreters have been trained in interpreting best practices and industry terms. Bilingual workers don’t have a background in interpreting and may not know all the terminology they need in both languages. That means they may misinterpret instructions or safety requirements.

 

Additionally, bilingual workers may leave out information, believing that it isn’t important to translate. This can lead to costly errors that set projects back and even result in dangerous workplace accidents. A construction interpreter, on the other hand, will accurately convey instructions without editorializing them.

 

Last, but not least, construction interpreters can assist when a workplace accident occurs. Regardless of how well workers follow safety instructions, accidents happen. When they do, workers need to be able to communicate exactly what happened for liability purposes. OSHA requirements cover all workers, and LEP speakers need to know their rights in a given scenario.

 

How Boostlingo Can Help

 

Given the importance of construction interpreters, you may be wondering how you can hire one. Fortunately, the Boostlingo interpreting platform makes it easy to connect with one on-demand either over the phone or via video remote. You can even schedule onsite appointments in advance. Plus, you’ll gain access to our Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages. All you need to get started is an internet connection and a computer or tablet with a webcam for video calls.

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today!