Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ireland: No Emergency Interpreter Assistance

I recently had the chance to visit Ireland and speak with members of the Irish Translators and Intepreters Association (ITIA) about telephone interpreting, which is becoming increasingly popular there.

While in Dublin, I spoke with a reporter for Metro Eireann who did a story on the lack of interpreters for emergency services (9-9-9) in Ireland. That story is available here.

So many of the telephone interpreters I've spoken with over the years have shared truly heart-warming (and sometimes tear-jerking) stories about helping people in times of emergency. Interpreters are often invaluable in high-risk settings, such as police and medical situations. As time goes on, Ireland will probably adopt processes to ensure that such services are available. Until then, tourists and immigrants (Ireland has seen tremendous growth in multilingualism due to immigration in recent years) remain at greater risk than they would be with language services in place.

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