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Interpreters helping break the language barrier in melting pot that is Utica

By NICOLE HART

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Over the past three decades, more than 13,000 refugees have called the city of Utica home.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a melting pot city is communication, especially during an emergency. One organization is helping break that language barrier with knowledge of more than 55 languages and they are continuing to expand.

"Communication is really where it's at if we're going to live successful lives," said Multicultural Association of Medical Interpreters, or MAMI Interpreters, Executive Director Cornelia Brown said. "That's just what MAMI is trying to help with."

Brown went on to say, "they all require clear communication and understanding and that's why we're here, because we want that to happen for people who are coming from other languages and other cultural experiences."

Not only does MAMI help in the medical field, but in education, legal and social services, too. With this growing field, comes the need for more. They are now expanding their courses and have re-located to a bigger space. MAMI has been partnered with United Way for just about a year, something both organizations are proud of.

"We're using this funding from United Way to provide interpreters at health care facilities that can not afford to pay for the interpreter," Brown said.

"It really is a win for everyone," said Brenda Episcopo, Executive Director of the United Way. "It's a win for United Way that we can provide such a service in the community and our donors invest in that and it's a win for the patient for the patient who can take care of themselves and be healthy and it's a win for the community because we don't have costs rising due to emergency room visits."

For more information on what MAMI offers, how you can get involved, either as a provider or a recipient of their services, you can contact them via the information posted below.

Utica Office
287 Genesee St. Utica, NY 13501
(315) 732-2271
(315) 732-2360 (fax)

www.mamiinterpreters.org

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