Sunday, September 23, 2012
A bit of a continuation of this article, but with some different (though largely similar) numbers:
Numbers of Chinese tourists visiting Jeju-do are booming, but the lack of tour interpreters is causing side effects.
In particular, problems have arisen such as some travel agencies hiring unqualified people such as overseas Chinese or ethnic Korean Chinese citizens to do the job.
(Note: What's wrong with that? If there is a desperate need and a person that fills it, that person should be able to get the job.)
According to numbers given on the 20th, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Jeju-do by the end of last year was 570,000. This year there were 580,000 tourists by the end of July. However, though one interpreter is needed per 20 people, there is a total of only 129 of them in Jeju-do.
In May there were a total of 1,163 registered / qualified guide interpreters, but the number of active ones was just 379. Of those 14 were for English, 236 for Japanese, and 129 for Chinese.
Last year, 356 interpreters would have been required for the 570,000 Chinese visitors. If the number reaches 700,000 it will require 438 interpreters, 1 million 625 tourists would require interpreters, and 1.5 million tourists would require 938 interpreters.
The amount of money made by Chinese interpreters is 150,000 won per day ($130), much higher than the 100,000 won ($90) made by English and Japanese interpreters. The cost is one of the reason why interpreters are being hired from elsewhere.
It then ends with some strategies to keep 'unqualified' interpreters from getting these jobs and doing unqualified interpreting - more testing and qualifying on the government level, and keeping an eye on those travel agencies that hire the unqualified interpreters.
Good luck trying to meet the demand without going outside the local population - Jeju-do has a total of just 530,000 people and every 500th person is going to need to be a Chinese interpreter to meet future demand.