From providing translations for residents dealing with city agencies, to a bill that would require pharmacies to provide prescription information in languages spoken in every city community, there's a growing movement spearheaded by the Bloomberg administration and some City Council members to dramatically widen the requirements for translation services.Rite Aid is in fact going to offer such a service. From a press release I received a few days ago to announce the launch (on May 12) of a multilingual access program:
Advocates of the legislation, many of whom have been fighting for years to get the city and state to be more inclusive for people with limited English proficiency (LEPs), say the requirements are essential in removing a fundamental barrier to citizenship.
Rite Aid Pharmacy, in conjunction with leading language service provider Language Line Services, [promotes a] new multilingual program throughout New York State and launch the roll-out of a language access program in its pharmacies nationwide. With Rite Aid’s multilingual program, customers with limited-English speaking skills may receive certain prescription and other related information printed in any one of 11 different languages and have access to interpreters in more than 175 languages via the Language Line® Interpretation Service.A good move on Rite Aid's part, and a needed one for so many immigrants with limited (or non-existant) English skills.
I had some doubt about the telephone interpretation service – specifically, whether they can ensure good quality (several companies in this sector are notorious for the low rates they pay to freelance interpreters). However, in answer to my inquiry, I was told that
As far as how we confirm the quality of work, I can tell you the over-the-phone interpretation service is staffed with trained interpreters that are employed, not contracted, by Language Line Services. […] interpreters have the requisite experience in the healthcare field and the ability to preserve the meaning of the exchanges between the limited-English customer and pharmacist, which is important when dealing with prescriptionsIf so, that's good news, and the new service should prove very useful to many people.