by Daniel Pipes
Sep 30, 2014
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner
The Center for Immigration Studies finds that the foreign-born population of the United States numbers 41.3 million, or one out of six adults, more than twice the number than in 1980.
There are many ways to gauge the impact of this huge increase; here’s one small but telling way:
I just received paperwork from Independence Blue Cross (IBX) about medical issuance options for 2015. To my surprise, this hyper-routine mailing includes a two-sided sheet, “Multi-language Interpreter Services,” that offers “free interpreter services to answer any questions you may have about our health or drug plan.” Not only does IBX make this service available in 17 languages, from French Creole to Tagalog to Chinese Cantonese, but it counts English as one of them, as though it’s just another language! More than that, it even mangles the name of the language spoken by the overwhelming majority of its users. Read it for yourself: “Someone who speaks English/Language can help you.”
(1) Making English just another language to be interpreted points to multiculturalism gone haywire.
(2) Subsidizing these translation services silently increases the insurance premiums for IBX’s English speakers.
(3) Why just those 16 foreign languages? Limiting myself just to the Middle East, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish are missing, not to speak of Armenian, Berber, and Kurdish. And if Chinese rates two dialects, so should Arabic and Kurdish, some of whose dialects are mutually incomprehensible. Logic requires not 16 languages but, say, 160 or even 1,600.
(4) If mundane insurance matters deserve “free” interpretation, surely the far more important conversations between medical personnel on the one side and patients on the other deserve “free” interpretation too. Where does this end? (September 29, 2014)