Receiving thousands of requests for translation and interpretation services each year, the Jeju Province has decided to expand its language services to include seven new languages, including Nepali, Indonesian, and Cambodian.
The Special Self-Governing Jeju Province, which encompasses the South Korean island of Jeju in the Korea Strait, has announced that it will expand and operate the interpretation and translation services of the Foreign Workers Support Center under the Provincial Office. The stated purpose is to facilitate foreign workers’ adaptation to the local communities, alleviate various life inconveniences, and resolve human rights issues.
Located off the coast of South Korea, the Jeju Province currently provides foreign language interpretation and translation services for foreign workers through the Foreign Workers Support Center. The center plans to expand interpretation and translation consultations and services from the existing English, Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese to seven new languages, including Nepali, Indonesian, and Cambodian. As of the end of August this year, the Foreign Workers Support Center had conducted over 2,000 consultations.
According to the monthly statistical report of the Immigration Service of the Ministry of Justice, as of the end of June 2020, there are 11,896 registered foreigners in Jeju Province from China, 3,567 from Vietnam, 1,795 from Indonesia, 1,278 from Nepal, 625 from the Philippines, and 458 from Cambodia.
The consultations fell into several categories, including 300 cases of overdue wages, 270 cases of workplace change, and 171 cases related to immigration. Other matters such as medical care, industrial accidents, education, daily life grievances, and interpretation and translation issues were also discussed. As for the nationality of the consultees, Chinese nationals represented the largest group at 982, followed by 406 Nepalese, 259 Vietnamese, 205 Filipino, 107 Sri Lankans, and 87 Yemeni.
The announcement for the expansion also comes at a pivotal time as the region works to keep COVID-19 cases low. South Korea has had several holidays in the past few weeks, including its five-day fall harvest festival of Chuseok, along with the national Hangeul Day holiday. According to officials, the combined number of outside visitors to the island during these holidays reached some 460,000. Notably, the island has not seen a new virus case reported since Sept. 23, according to health officials.
“We will come up with a variety of support measures for foreign workers to adapt quickly to the community and resolve any grievances they may have,” said Choi Myeong-dong, director of the Job Economy and Trade Bureau.