Migrant boat deaths: What you need to know (and why it matters for interpreters)


Apr 20, 2015 / by Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen


From the LA Times...


Article Excerpt: Hundreds of migrants are feared to have died at sea after a vessel capsized off the coast of Libya early Sunday morning. Here's what you need to know about why migrants are crossing the Mediterranean by the hundreds, and what officials are trying to do about the crisis.


How many people have died so far this year?

Before Sunday’s capsize, some 900 migrants had already died in Mediterranean crossings so far in 2015.

Are migrant deaths at sea increasing and why?

Yes. According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 10 times as many migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean as the 96 who died in the first four months of 2014.

Link to the full article HERE.


InterpretAmerica's Take: Today's Interpreting the News may not seem directly related to our profession, but the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is actually very relevant to where we can expect the interpreting market to grow. Despite receiving a huge share of the world's migrants, Europe has been slow to develop services that cater to what we at InterpretAmerica sometimes refer to as the "compliance interpreting market." The compliance market is interpreting that helps provide access to community and public services to immigrant populations, usually in compliance with national laws. In contrast, the market is already highly developed in the United States, Canada, Australia, and to some degree, the United Kingdom. In fact, this market represents a much larger share of the interpreting market as a whole than does the traditional and still-dominant conference interpreting market in Europe.


Increasingly, we are seeing signs that Europe is poised to develop a more significant language services infrastructure for its many and diverse immigrant populations. In October 2010, the Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (2010/64/EU) was passed, and in 2012, the Directive on the right to information in criminal proceedings (2012/13/EU) became law. Sweden, ahead of the European curve, has a robust medical interpreting market, the majority of which is served via remote platforms. In 2013, after a similar boat tragedy, again off the island of Lampedusa, our European colleagues informed of us efforts to create an emergency response network that could include telephonic interpreting. And most recently while at GALA's Business of Language annual conference in Seville, Spain, we saw great interest from European LSPs seeking greater understanding of the compliance market and how to enter it.


The ongoing migrant crisis in Europe and elsewhere only serves to increase the need for competent language services. As nations seek longer-term solutions for integrating newly-arrived migrant populations into society, demand for language services can only grow. In Europe, that demand is likely to be at least partially met by governments who will require and fund language services. The question then becomes, who will be ready to fill that need?

This conversation, and many other issues coming down the pike for the interpreting profession, will be highlighted at InterpretAmerica 5 on June 12-13, 2015, in Monterey, California. Won't you join us?


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