El Tiempo de Boston begins circulation as New England's 7th Spanish newspaper, and booming demand for medical interpreters

Friday, November 06, 2009

Two articles have surfaced today that are full of good numbers to note for those following linguistic trends. The first one here is about a new Spanish newspaper called El Tiempo de Boston (doesn't seem to have a website though), making a total of seven in Spanish in the New England region.

Some of the numbers and facts from this article:

- Other Spanish newspapers in the region: El Mundo, La Semana, El Planeta, Siglo21, Vocero Hispano, Providence en Español.
- El Planeta is the largest with a circulation of 50,000. Providence en Español is 25,000, El Mundo is at 30,000, Siglo21 has 25,000. All of them are weeklies.
- Advertising revenue is down 28% over the first half of the year, while the decline for Spanish-language media is down 6% from July 2008 to July 2009
- 900,000 Hispanics live in New England, of which 437,000 live in Massachusetts. By the way, about 85,000 in Massachusetts also speak Portuguese.

The second article is here and is about more languages than Spanish, though Spanish is still the most needed language for medical interpretation. Facts from there are:

- There are an estimated 15,000 to 17,000 medical interpreters in the US, and they make around $15 to $30 per hour. This is less than half that made by an interpreter at the European Commission.
- Interpretation service is free for the patient but many aren't aware that it exists and are pleasantly surprised.

The final fact worth repeating in the article is the reason for medical interpretation being free: it may seem like a waste of money and a bit of a hassle, but compared to the extra cost of repeat visits or misdiagnoses due to miscommunication it is much cheaper to make sure that patients thoroughly understand. That's why this editorial is in error. It may feel right to require that hospital transactions all occur in English in a country where English is the common tongue but this will only end up costing more in the end.


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