Do you know the procedure to have your document legalized for a Chinese court? Yesterday we had a client who had to submit an English letter to a Chinese court. Unfortunately, she had no idea what to do about certifying it. We checked the Chinese court, our Chinese translators in china, our Chinese translators in Los Angeles, and nobody seemed to have a clear idea. Some even said we had to get it certified at the state, Washington D.C. and Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C for $1200.
Fortunately, I was able to get the following info. 1. You need to get a certified English to Chinese translation notarized. 2. You should get an apostille from the State Registrar’s office. 3. You need to get it authenticated at the Chinese Consulate. Everything for less than $300 at https://latranslation.com/languages/chinese
Professional interpretation is one of the most lucrative, growing and diverse fields in California. As the state’s population becomes increasingly diverse, the demand for professional, certified interpreters in the courts has increased significantly over the past few decades.
Currently, full-time Certified Interpreters in the California Courts make about$73,000/year.
In U.S. District Courts, interpreters in California can earn$108,000 – $141,000/year.
Freelance interpreters make $250-$450 half day up to 3 hours, depending on languages. High profile civil cases pay $1,000 a day.
In addition, society has started to recognize the importance of professionalizing interpreters in new areas, beyond the criminal courts, most noticeably in health care.
Labor Market Information & Analysis
The following is an analysis of the interpreter job market in California, with employment statistics and job prospects for trained interpreters and translators.
In 2010, the Judicial Council of California, which oversees the Court Interpreters Program and the Certification of Court Interpreters in California, published a report entitled, “2010 Language Use and Interpreter Need in California Superior Court,” which concludes that, “taken together, the trends in service days for spoken languages suggest a sizeable and growing demand for interpretative services in California courts. The state’s courts provided more than 1 million days of spoken language interpretative services in 147 languages with the total number of service days for mandated proceedings increasing 14 percent during the study period….Spanish, as the most used language comprising 83 percent of all mandated services days, continues to be a major force driving interpreter service need. It, along with Mandarin, were the only languages showing significant increases during the study period – 11 percent and 89 percent, respectively.” The full report can be found at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/language-interpreterneed-10.pdf
Despite the lingering effects of the recession, California’s fiscal crisis and the resulting budget cuts that have impacted county courts throughout the state in the past few years, the California courts continue to hire interpreters on a regular basis. A survey of interpreter job postings on Indeed.com (April 2013) identified at least a dozen openings in California Superior Courts statewide. This demand is expected to increase due to the upcoming of expansion of interpreter services in California Superior Court, as a result of a lawsuit filed against the Judicial Council of California, alleging inadequate language access for people with limited English proficiency. In addition, there is an on-going need for interpreters in a variety of non-legal venues and settings, such as workers compensation appeals board, medical appointments and evaluations, social service agencies, immigration court, school districts, and non-profits, to name a few. Interpreter agencies statewide hire interpreters on an on-going, as-needed basis. A survey on Caljobs.ca.gov in June of 2014 produced 202 listings for interpreter jobs in California (https://www.caljobs.ca.gov/jobbanks/joblist.asp?session=jobsearch&geo=0601000000&t=q&faqq=&geotype=&city=&zip=&radius= ). A more recent survey on Indeed.com ( http://www.indeed.com/jobs?as_and=Interpreter&as_phr=&as_any=&as_not=&as_ttl=&as_cmp=&jt=all&st=&salary=&radius=25&l=California&fromage=any&limit=10&sort=&psf=advsrch ) produced 550 interpreter postings in California, and more than 2,800 listings nationwide.
The website Labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov (http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/OccGuides/Detail.aspx?Soccode=273091&geography=0601000000) states that “Spanish Interpreters and Translators should have good job opportunities. This is due to the expected increase in the Spanish-speaking population. In healthcare and legal fields it is critical that information be fully understood among all parties. Therefore, demand is expected to be strong for Interpreters and Translators specializing in these fields…. In California, the number of Interpreters and Translators is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Interpreters and Translators are expected to increase by 29.2 percent, or 2,600 jobs between 2010 and 2020. (See the chart below).
Estimated Employment and Projected Growth for Interpreters and Translators
In California, an average of 270 new job openings per year is expected for Interpreters and Translators, plus an additional 240 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 510 job openings.
Estimated Average Annual Job Openings for Interpreters and Translators
Other job opportunities for interpreters exist in the health care industry. The website coeeccc.net contains a study about Healthcare interpreters, produced by the Centers for Excellence and the Health Care Interpreters in California Initiative (http://www.coeccc.net/documents/HC_Interpreter_CA_2012.pdf#search=”interpreter”), that states that “In 2011, there were a total of 289 job postings for medical/healthcare interpreters in the state of California. The types of jobs that are posted for medical/healthcare interpreters are mainly part-time, contract, on-call, and per diem positions,… Spanish were in the most demand in 2011, with 117 job postings (over 40%) seeking these translators. The other popular languages included Cantonese/Mandarin (53 job postings; 18%) and Vietnamese (27; 9%)….Over the 12-month period, there was an average of 24 postings for medical interpreters per month. The most number of related job postings (35 each month) were in March, May, and October.”…There were 32 job posting in San Francisco County and 19 in Alameda County during this period.
L.A. Translation and Interpretation provides training to become a certified medical and court interpreters.
– Please explain about the Certificate in Translation and Interpretation program.
You can become a court certified interpreter if you pass the written test and the oral test by the Judicial Council of the State of California. You can become a medical certified interpreter if you pass the written and oral tests given by the National Board of Certified Medical Interpreters. LA Translation and Interpretation has provided courses to train the students to pass those tests and become certified interpreters.
– How much money do interpreters make?
The starting salary of a criminal court interpreter is $67,000, and top 10% make six digit income. Medical interpreters make about $40,000-50,000.
– What is the future prospect for the job of interpreters?
There is an increasing demand for interpreters and translators in 2016, among other occupations that make up the Top 12 high-wage, in-demand, skilled positions this year. While high-paying jobs that offer financial and career security are enticing, there is another perk that comes along with being an interpreter and a translator — personal gratification for helping students and families in need of support and clarification.
– Can machines substitute human translators and interpreters?
Language is more from human intuition so there are many parts that machines can do as well as humans. Machine translation is at a very poor state now, and will remain limited in the future.
– How long is the program and what are the costs?
We have 1-year Certificate Program in Translation and Interpretation and the cost is $4800. If you just take medical courses out of it, it is 2 courses for $1200.
– Who are qualified to take the certification test?
There is no age or education requirement for court interpreters. For medical, if you graduated from high school in China, they ask you to show the proof of education or interpreter related job experiences in the U.S. or Toefl score. If you graduated from a high school in the U.S. you should show your college education in Chinese, or your taking courses in Chinese, or Chinese Qualification Test scores.
– What are the merits and shortcomings of the interpreter job?
You can help people communicate, it’s a freelancer professional job, you experience new and different things every day, you can continue to develop yourself, flexible work hours, and there is no retirement. Shortcomings would be, for me, that you cannot state your own opinion, there is no human relations like in organizations. But that could also be a merit of the job.
– Do you provide employment service after completion of the courses?
We provide necessary information to get jobs, and the company affiliated to the school is an agency that provides jobs to translators and interpreters.
Next Mandarin classes open on July 23, Saturday. For inquiries: 213-368-0700.
A series of four robberies and assaults that victimized Korean women in Koreatown-area apartment building elevators prompted Los Angeles police Tuesday to ask for help finding the man they believe is behind the attacks.
코리아타운의 아파트에서 한국여성에 대한 네 번의 강도폭행이 연달아 일어남에 따라 화요일 로스앤젤레스 경찰국은 피의자를 찾을 수 있도록 주민의 도움을 요청했다.
The incidents occurred between Nov. 9 and Dec. 30 and follow and similar outline: a Hispanic male followed a lone Korean woman into an elevator, assaulted her and robbed her.
강도사건은 11월 9일에서 12월 30일 사이에 일어났으며 히스패닉 남성이 혼자 가는 한국 여성을 엘리베이터로 쫓아가 폭행하고 강도를 범하는 유사한 패턴을 보여준다.
The attacks were called “vicious robberies” in a news release from the Los Angeles Police Department that said investigators believe the same person has committed the crimes. At least once attack was caught on video, which police hoped would help detectives find the assailant.
로스앤젤레스 경찰국의 뉴스 릴리즈는 이 사건을 “악랄한 강도”라고 칭했으며 수사관들은 이 사건들을 동일인의 소행으로 본다고 하였다. 최소한 한 번의 범행이 비디오에 잡혀 경찰국은 범인을 잡는 데 도움이 되기를 바라고 있다.
Video released by police that was taken from inside an apartment lobby showed a man sneaking up behind a woman whose arms were full of packages, then throwing her to the floor so violently that her body spun around on the tile. He fought with her, pulled her purse from her arm, and then fled.
경찰이 공개한 아파트 내부를 찍은 비디오는 한 남성이 한팔 가득히 물건을 든 한 여성을 몰래 뒤따라가 바닥에 난폭하게 내동댕이쳐서 여성의 몸이 타일 위로 한 바퀴 도는 것을 보여준다. 이 남성은 피해자와 몸싸움을 하다가 가방을 빼앗아 도주했다.
The attacker was described as a 20- to 30-year-old Hispanic male standing between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighing between 130 and 170 pounds. He was often seen wearing sweatshirts and shorts, police said.
가해자의 인상착의는 20세에서 30세 사이의 히스패닉 남성으로 키는 165 센티미터에서 170센티미터 정도이고 체중은 58 킬로에서 76킬로그램 사이이다. 경찰에 의하면 종종 운동복 셔츠와 반바지를 입은 모습이 포착되었다.
“He’s taking [the victims’] purses or any property that they may be holding in their hands,” said LAPD Detective Brenda Hardy.
LAPD 형사 브레다 하디에 의하면 “피의자는 피해자가 손에 든 지갑이나 다른 물건을 빼앗아 간다.”
“On the first couple of robberies he was able just to get the purses really quickly. However, the last couple of robberies, the females have held onto their property or resisted in some way,” Hardy said. “And in each subsequent robbery, his level of violence has been escalating.”
“처음 한 두번의 강도사건에서는 잽싸게 가방을 훔쳐 갔다. 그러나 그 다음 두번은 여성들이 어떤 식으로건 저항하거나 자기의 소지품을 지켰고,” 그리고 “강도가 거듭될 수록 그의 폭력의 수위도 높아졌다”는 것이다.
In an incident that occurred about 2 a.m. Dec. 23 in the 300 block of Alexandria Avenue, the man “sexually battered” his victim, punched her several times and then took her purse.
12월 23일 새벽 2시경 알렉산드리아 애브뉴의 300 블럭에서 일어난 사건에서는 남성이 피해자를 성폭력하고 주먹으로 몇 번 때린 후 지갑을 훔쳐갔다.
Just before 11 p.m. Dec. 30 in the 400 block of Westmoreland Avenue, the attacker followed his victim into an elevator, pressed a sharp object to her neck and attempted to take her purse. When she resisted, he slammed her to the ground, punched and kicked her and then took off with the handbag.
12월 30일 밤 11시 직전에 웨스트모어랜드 애브뉴의 400 블럭에서, 가해자는 피해자를 엘리베이터 안으로 따라 들어가 목에 날카로운 물건을 들이대고 가방을 훔치려고 했다. 그녀가 저항하자 바닥에 밀어 넘어뜨리고 주먹으로 때리고 발로 차고는 핸드백을 가지고 도주했다.
Similar incidents occurred about 4:25 a.m. Nov. 9 in the 300 block of Alexandria Avenue and about 12:30 a.m. Nov. 23 in the 500 block of Hobart Boulevard. In both cases, the man followed his victim into an elevator, punched her and took her purse.
11월 9일 새벽 4시 25분 알렉산드리아 애브뉴 300블럭에서, 그리고 11월 23일 새벽 12시 반에 호바트 불바드의 500 블럭에서 이와 유사한 사건이 일어났다. 두 번 다, 남성은 엘리베이터 안으로 피해자를 따라 들어가 주먹으로 때리고 가방을 빼앗았다.
It was not immediately clear which incident was shown in the video released by police.
경찰이 공개한 비디오가 그 중 어떤 사건을 보여 주는지는 현재로는 명확치 않다.
Anyone with information about the robberies or who recognizes the assailant was urged to call LAPD Olympic Division robbery detectives at 213-382-9460. Anonymous tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
강도에 대해 아는 바가 있거나 가해자를 알아보는 사람은213-382-9460로LAPD 올림픽 지서에 전화할 것이 요망된다. 익명으로 제보하려면 800-222-8477 Crime Stoppers로 전화하면 된다.
With a growing Latino and increasingly diversified population in the United States, there is a demand for interpreters and translators in 2014, among other occupations that make up the Top 12 high-wage, in-demand, skilled positions this year.
While high-paying jobs that offer financial and career security are enticing, there is another perk that comes along with being an interpreter and a translator — personal gratification for helping students and families in need of support and clarification. (The Latin Post takes a closer look at this trend further into the story.)
CareerBuilder teamed up with Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) to identify the occupations that grew by at least seven percent from 2010 to 2013, are projected to grow in 2014, and pay at least $22 per hour. EMSI data is collected from more than 90 federal and state sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and state labor departments.
“In addition to higher pay levels and solid growth rates, what many of these jobs have in common is a talent shortage,” Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of the book “The Talent Equation,” tells Business Insider. “Recruitment of skilled labor in specialized areas like information technology and health care has become highly competitive.”
Not only do these jobs offer financial and career security, but they also contribute to the economic growth of other occupations. It also notes that job seekers need to be ready to prove their skills in order to land one of these roles.
“More high-wage jobs will be created in 2014 which will, in turn, fuel the creation of jobs at lower pay levels,” added Ferguson. “The challenge is many of these in-demand, skilled positions are in areas where companies are already experiencing a shortage of qualified labor. As a nation, we need to focus on reskilling workers of all ages and providing them with affordable education to catch up to labor demands in technology, health care and other key sectors.”
According to the report, data for interpreters and translators is as follows:
Total employment in 2013: 69,887
Added 8,377 jobs from 2010-2013, up 14 percent
Median hourly earnings: $22.39
One of the benefits of being an interpreter or translator is the “personal satisfaction and gratification you get when you are able to meet the needs of the students and their families,” says Fabio Castellanos, an interpreter and translator who also happens to be this reporter’s father.
“You can see the appreciation in their eyes during a translation; you can see how grateful they are because they know exactly what is going on and understand how the system works,” he explained.
Another benefit from having interpretation and translation services is that students’ records can be obtained, including Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) as well as medical records, which provides teachers and parents a better idea of their students’ progress and needs.
There is no more vivid illustration of the urgent need for certified medical interpreters than the story of Maria Guevara, whose visit to Los Angeles County General hospital for a pregnancy test in 2008 changed her life forever. She was thrilled to learn that she was three months pregnant. When the doctor asked in English whether she wanted to keep the baby she replied without hesitation, ‘Yes.’ The doctor prescribed medication, which Maria took when she got home. She experienced violent pain and bleeding and returned to hospital where the doctor told her she was having a miscarriage. She said afterwards: ‘My baby was dead. The medication the initial doctor prescribed to me was not prenatal care but medication to induce an abortion. Not speaking any English, I was unable to understand his question to me. He did not speak Spanish and no interpreter was provided. Losing my baby forced me into a deep depression. I could not bear looking at or holding babies because the thought brought back painful emotions.’
According to the 2010 US census, 20% of California’s 6.6 million residents speak English ‘less than very well’ and have experienced problems in understanding their physician or other health care provider. The number and diversity of US residents with limited English continues to grow, putting pressure on healthcare systems and clinicians to ensure equal treatment by providing interpreters. However, those working within the healthcare system are often unclear about their legal obligations.
California is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation and is one of the most advanced in providing legal rights for patients to have access to an interpreter. The need for certified medical interpreters will increase dramatically when millions of people who do not speak English become eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). To address the anticipated need for medical interpreters, Assembly Speaker John A Pérez (D-Los Angeles) introduced Bill AB1263, which will significantly expand training. This was passed in Senate on September 11, 2013 and enrolled on September 18, 2013. It will ‘establish the Medi-Cal Patient-Centered Communication program, to be administered by a 3rd party administrator, to, commencingJuly 1, 2014, provide and reimburse for medical interpretation services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries who are limited English proficient.’
An improving situation
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay most of the cost of providing interpretation for new patients coming into the system. For an investment of $200,000, California will gain $270 million in federal funds for the creation of 7,000 jobs for Certified Medical Interpreters accredited by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. Even a relatively fluent interpreter, without specialized training, may have difficulty translating the unfamiliar and complex medical terminology used in consultations. With the increasing use of advanced technology in medical procedures, and the use of medical devices in patients’ homes, this can only make the training of specialized interpreters more urgent, particularly when devices for home use arrive without multilingual instructions. On this subject, the website licensedprescriptions.com says: ‘better communications [are] needed between physicians, hospitals, care givers and patient.’ They go on to say there should be constant dialogue between patients and healthcare providers to make sure the devices are always used correctly, there are no function problems and that the patient has been properly educated on what to do if something goes wrong.
Unfair to children
Despite the legal framework, there is still a shortage of medical interpreters, and hospitals often rely on help enlisted from non-medical hospital staff unfamiliar with medical terminology, or on patients bringing in friends or family to interpret for them. This may be better than nothing, but it is a system open to errors. Unfortunately, particularly in the case of new immigrant families, it is often the children who are more fluent in English and are therefore forced to take responsibility for translation in difficult and harrowing situations that can leave the child permanently scarred.
Poulinna Po was only 15 when she was needed as interpreter for her father, who spoke only Khmer. Her father suffered from diabetes and did not understand how to take his medication. Poulinna Po understood what the doctor was saying, but did not know the Khmyer words needed to convey this to her father. He eventually died from a brain tumor and complications from a stroke for which Poulinna Po blamed herself.
Dr Hector Flores, a director of The California Endowment (whose mission is to expand affordable, quality healthcare for under-served individuals and communities) said: ‘Children do not have the maturity to understand the importance and seriousness of medical discussions. There could be misunderstandings that could lead to serious problems. Imagine a boy interpreting for a mother having menstrual problems. Parents might withhold information and think they are protecting the child, but this would hurt the medical encounter. It’s never appropriate to depend on a child to interpret.’
Looking to the future
Obama Care remains one of the most controversial federal policies of recent years, with many critics seeing it as a clear case of the federal government overstepping the constitutional limits on its power: they point to the 17 powers given to Congress in the Constitution (Section 8 of Article 1), none of which mentions medical care, doctors or insurance. In 1788 James Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 45: ‘The powers delegated to by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.’ In order to protect this state sovereignty, 20 or more states have challenged the constitutionality of the new healthcare law, and several have moved to pass constitutional amendments forbidding any law that makes it mandatory for citizens to participate in a health-care system; but surely this is overlooking the enormous need of millions of people for medical care that these measures are designed to address.
With regard to the provision of interpreters, the ad hoc arrangements that for decades have been at least inadequate and at worst dangerous to patients, had to be addressed. Uniform standards, qualifications and quality measures are all provided for under the new act, as well as the setting up of the Community Advisory Committee that ‘shall include interested stakeholders that reflect the diversity of the state in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status and geography,’ to create and administer a training program for medical interpreters.
In his speech to Congress in 2009 President Obama said: ‘Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. And out of this blizzard of charges and countercharges, confusion has reigned. Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on healthcare.’
– Clare Heel –
LA Translation and Interpretation provides Certificate in 40-hour Training in Medical Interpreting in Korean, Mandarin and Spanish, among others. Call 1-866-327-1004 for more information
As the nation becomes more diverse, demand for trained, skilled interpreters to help doctors and patients communicate — and avoid potentially deadly misunderstandings — is growing.
Health care regulations require medical providers who receive federal funding to provide interpreters. There’s also growing research on the effects of bad communication on patient safety, said Izabel Arocha, executive director of the International Medical Interpreters Association.
“There’s just been a huge increase in awareness that has changed these practices,” Arocha said.
However, there aren’t always enough medical interpreters to go around, said Rosemond Owens, health literacy and cultural competency specialist at CentraCare Health System in central Minnesota. CentraCare contracts for interpreters from three organizations including The Bridge−World Language Center. Top languages in demand in central Minnesota are Spanish and Somali.
“We don’t have to look too far for what needs there are,” said the Bridge’s CFO and trainer Jan Almarza. “The needs just hit you in the face.”
Programs around the nation that train and certify interpreters in medical terminology, ethics and cultural differences are seeing rising enrollment.
Training at LA Translation and Interpretation takes about 40 hours and outlines best practices and ethical guidelines as set by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care. There are also oral and written tests to verify people really understand what they claim to know.
Certified interpreter Danny Kim was among the first to go through a training at LA Translation and Interpretation in 2013. A native of Korean, Kim had recently been laid off after working 16 years at the same company and was looking for a career change.
“I simply fell in love with it,” he said. Naturally curious, Kim spends a lot of time learning about medical conditions and treatments and has even observed surgeries to improve his knowledge.
Kim said it’s important but sometimes challenging to maintain professional distance while on the job. He sits to the side of but a little behind the patient and keeps his head down. He must remain impartial, even if the doctor is delivering bad news.
“When I put my interpreter hat on, I’m a machine,” he said.
Still, Kim feels good knowing that he’s helping people. He’s interpreted for children, mental health patients and even a woman giving birth when no female interpreters were available.
“There’s never a dull moment,” he said.
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters has about 500 certified interpreters, said Tina Peña, board president. The program is offered in Spanish and is expanding to Korean, Mandarin, Russian and possibly African languages, said Peña, who is also an instructor at Tulsa Community College.
More hospitals and clinics are realizing the need to use trained interpreters, Peña said. In some cases, hospitals have had to pay to settle lawsuits because of errors attributed to language barriers, she said.
Peña teaches her students not only about medical terminology and privacy laws but also familiarizes them with home remedies popular in Hispanic cultures, such as passing an egg over a sick person to chase away evil spirits.
“She is like a cultural broker, and will explain quickly to the doctor what happened,” Peña said.
Students learn medical terminology and practice typical scenarios, Chesley said. The program also spends a lot of time on ethics, she said.
“You can’t get empathetic with your client,” Chesley said. “You have to be very precise and do exactly what’s required at that particular moment.”
In some cities with a large non English-speaking population, hospitals have added their own interpreters on staff.
At UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., 30%-35% of patients have limited proficiency in English, said Elena Morrow, manager of interpretive services. The hospital has 41 staff members who interpret 16 different languages, she said.
Spanish is the most popular language, followed by Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Ukrainian, Hmong and Mien. The interpreters handle about 37,000 encounters every year, Morrow said.
“We do see the demand is quite steady and increasing little by little every year,” she said.
The salaries interpreters earn vary depending on whether they work on their own or for a hospital or an agency, what part of the country they are in and what language they speak, said Joy Connell, president of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.
There are even some interpreters who can work in more than two languages. Those interpreters are in high demand, Connell said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports interpreters and translators in hospitals earn a national average of $21.43 an hour and $44,570 a year.
Technology is helping health care providers meet the demand for interpreters. Using phone or video conferencing allows hospitals and clinics – including those in rural areas – to provide interpreters for patients, even if they speak a rare language.
Video systems are growing in popularity, Arocha said, because “it allows for that very quick access, but it also allows for the face-to-face interaction.”
“There are situations where you can’t just rely on audio,” she said.
LA Translation and Interpretation provides Certificate in 40-hour training in medical interpreting in Korean, Mandarin and Spanish, among others. Call 1-866-327-1004 for more information.
South Korea hopes to multiply by three the number of travelers coming for medical purposes until 2018. Outbound markets from Russia and the UAE are seen as priority.
SEOUL- Korea has ambition to become a major destination for medical tourism within the next five years. The government has been supporting the globalization of Korean medical institutions under a brand campaign “Medical Korea”, in an effort to promote its medical sector abroad. So far, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, total number of foreign patients who visited Korea for medical treatment surpassed 110,000 last year, up from 81,789 in 2010. If everything goes according to Korea’s ambitious development plans in this niche market, the country could attract over 150,000 foreign patients this year and target 400,000 visitors for medical purposes by 2018. By comparison, in 2007, less than 8,000 foreign travelers came to Korea for medical tourism.
The government has been making efforts over the past few years to develop medical tourism as one of its new growth engines. An agreement has been for example signed with health authorities in Abu Dhabi to allow citizens from the UAE to get treatment in four contracted local facilities in four hospitals located in Seoul. According to Korea’s Health Ministry, the agreement could generate economic benefits of US$ 52 million per year. Various programs have also been introduced by the government and related state agencies to facilitate the arrival of tourists for medical purposes. Initiatives include the issuance of medical treatment visas, operation of an around-the-clock medical call centre as well as dedicated one-stop medical tourism service centres. Special visa issuance has already helped to welcome in 2011 some 8,259 for countries such as Russia, China PRC as well as Mongolia. Russia is seen as one of the market with the highest potential. An office to promote Medical Tourism has recently been opened in Vladivostok in Siberia.
Speaking with the Korean daily “The Korea Times”, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO)’s chief Lee Charm sees medical tourism as the next big thing for the nation’s tourism industry. “The prospect for medical tourism is fantastic. The area of medical service has unlimited growth potential.” Lee said. The high level of services, the blend of traditional Korean medicines with Western medical knowledge as well as a safe and reliable environment is considered as assets to futher develop medical tourism. Korea medical services are also price competitive, especially when compared to Western European countries. “We are a bit more expensive than Thailand but our environment is much better and safer,” added Lee to the newspaper.