Augusta University offers Translation and Interpreter services during pandemic


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta University is working towards helping people who might not speak English.

NewsChannel 6’s Reporter Ashley Flete spoke to Vivian Rice, the Department Manager of Interpreter and Translation Services at Augusta University.

How many calls would you say you guys receive on a day to day basis?

“We get over 50 phone calls in a day. Easily, in a month we do about 1,500 interpretations and that’s just in Spanish alone.”

Rice says as social distancing guidelines continues, it’s hard to keep up with Non-English speaking people who want to know important information in their language.

Did you ever think that your job, as someone who helps people through language barriers, would ever become so essential, especially in a time like now?

“We always believe in order to provide health care in a safe quality matter…communication is crucial. We need to make sure we provide proper communication so that our patients are in formed.”

Augusta University Interpreter Services has a one of a kind program offering a pre-requisite course. The course prepares students to get a medical interpreter license.

Rice says the course is timely, but the ability to relay information at a time where COVID-19 has taken over is priceless.

“We’re suddenly found with a challenge where interpreting might need to be done over the phone or like a video conference call just as a safe measure to eliminate any potential exposure and the spread of the virus.”

As COVID-19 spreads, the demand is outweighing the supply.

Augusta University Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Nancy Young at the Dental College of Georgia sent out this email about community service information for students:

“Volunteers in this area would be located in the medical center. The call center is located on the first floor of the medical center in a low-traffic, locked office space. Each caller is located in a separate cubicle for appropriate social distancing. There are only 4-6 people in the space at any given time and it is not accessible by the public.”

What does it look like for you guys? Do you guys feel your going to need for help more volunteers?

“At this time, we are following the directions of our leaders. They are instrumental in letting us know what steps to take day by day.”

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