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“Parlez-vous pidgin?”

Posted by Big John on March 22, 2012

My local medical centre has a reception area where three ladies sit behind a counter, check you in and direct you to the correct waiting area for treatment, tests, or a consultation with your ‘GP’. This procedure usually takes a couple of minutes, but for those who can’t wait, there is a touch screen computer ‘self check-in’.

I have never seen anyone use this system, so being the nosey old git that I am, I had a look to see just how complicated it was to use. It seemed straight forward enough, but I could see how some old dear might be confused when she has called in to have her haemorrhoids checked-out and is confronted with something like this …

If this old biddy did not speak English she could get her anal analysis translated into any one of 120 languages for free on the NHS. Well it’s not exactly “free” as it costs the British tax payer around £23 million a year.

Now it has been revealed that other government departments including the Department for Work and Pensions are spending a bloody fortune on providing translation services in just about every language on earth, including “Nigerian Pidgin”.

I must say that I am not against helping foreign immigrants who can’t speak our language in real emergency situations, and I’ll even go along with treating some poor Punjabi speaker with painful piles, but surely this easy access to a translator discourages many from making the effort to learn English.

I wonder if any other countries provide such services to people who cannot speak their language ? I know that when I used to spend some time in Spain I had to provide my own interpreter when dealing with local officials etc. and this also applied to British ‘ex-pats’ when they attended hospital to, amongst other things, have their “farmer’s” treated.

I wonder what the Nigerian Pidgin is for … 

… “Can you look at my itchy arse, doc ?”  


2 Responses to ““Parlez-vous pidgin?””

  1. rummuser said

    No, we don’t provide translation services and if you are in a state the language of which is different from your mother tongue, too bad. Would you like a translation into Tamil for that question?

  2. I’ve never seen a translation service at a clinic in the U.S. However,i n a few of our more repressive States, a free travel service is provided. Those who can’t speak English greatly enhance their chances of being arrested and deported to their native land, courtesy of the government.

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