In this two-part series, we examine how the pandemic has exacerbated problems facing Oregon’s interpreters. Long-standing deficiencies in state oversight of their industry, which thrives on third-party contracting and low wages, has left interpreters working in health care settings struggling to make ends meet while they serve on the front lines of the pandemic. At the same time, the vulnerability of already marginalized non-English speakers is increased in hospitals and clinics, where they are often paired with translators who don’t speak their language, if provided with any translator at all.

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