Hospital employs tablets for real-time translation

Urasoe Sogo hospital has deployed a system that enables foreign patients and hospital staff to talk with the help of an online interpreter through mobile tablets. It’s the first medical facility on Okinawa to employ such a system.

The service is available in five languages; English, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As overseas visitors to Okinawa are rapidly increasing, the language issue has become one of the most serious problems for medical services. With this system, the medical staff at the hospital and patients can talk to an interpreter at the NEC Interpreter Center using a mobile tablet video call.

Takao Ueno, a staff member at the system administration department at the hospital says, “More and more foreign tourists from all over the world come to Okinawa but up to now, we have been able to take care of them only in limited English. Also in case of emergency care, interpreters who are able to speak many other languages would need to be ready anytime. That would cost too much, but with this system, interpreting is available anytime, and in many languages.”