Translation Technology

By Ben Wolf
Thursday, November 30, 2006

LT William Montague remembers arriving at a car crash and running into a serious problem with his patient.

"He spoke no English and I spoke no Spanish and we were probably about 40 miles out from the hospital."

Fortunately South Georgia Medical Center ambulances are equipped with a high-tech translation phone that can get EMS personnel in touch with a team of people that speak more than 70 languages.

"It was real helpful because that was the only way I was able to find any pre-hospital information before he arrived at the ER," said Montague.

The technology also allows for heart monitor readings to be sent directly to doctors at the hospital through a fax line.

"They like to have a copy of it in hand before they give certain orders in certain situations," said assistant Chief David Bauch.

The next time you see an ambulance racing to the scene, the people inside the vehicle could be getting ready to break down a language barrier.

First responders say they see an increase in translation system usage during peak farming seasons when many migrant workers live in the area.