Medical Interpreter Demand Rising in Tennessee


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Medical Interpreter Demand Rising in Tennessee

Tennessee's increasingly diverse population has fueled demand for qualified medical interpreting. "There is an obligation legally, but also institutions and hospitals have realized they can save money if they can communicate instead of doing unnecessary tests or procedures," says Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT) President Marvyn Bacigalupo-Tipps. Demand is highest for Spanish-speaking interpreters, but there is also a significant need for speakers of Arabic, Kurdish, Burmese, Farsi, Somali, Vietnamese, Laotian, and other languages. Nine years ago, Vanderbilt University Medical Center established a department of interpreters because of its growing patient diversity. In 2001, the hospital served 6,000 Hispanics. That number grew to 35,000 in 2009. The department’s roster includes 15 Spanish interpreters and 40 interpreters working in other languages. Meanwhile, TAPIT’s membership has grown from 16 members in 2001 to more than 300 members in 2010. The association offers a 40-hour class for medical interpreters as well as resources on where to receive additional training. "There is a big demand," Bacigalupo-Tipps says. "Think of how many doctors, clinics, and hospitals there are. Health institutions have realized that a family member is not necessarily a competent interpreter." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the medical interpreter profession to grow by 22 percent in the next eight years.

From "Nashville Hospitals Break Language Barrier"
Tennessean (TN) (08/14/10) Sanchez, Christina E.  

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - August 2010
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