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Natividad Medical Center Breaks Down Indigenous Language Barriers

Salinas, California’s strong agricultural industry draws a considerable number of workers from Mexico. Many of these individuals speak languages indigenous to their region. To ensure they receive high-quality health care, Natividad Medical Center launched the Indigenous Interpreting Plus Program.

The program, which is offered at no charge to Natividad’s patients, draws on more than 100 interpreters who speak about one dozen different indigenous languages, including regional variations like Triqui and Mixtec. While some of the interpreters are local, the network includes people from Arizona, Texas, and Alaska, where other indigenous language clusters exist.

Natividad has also expanded the interpreter program beyond the hospital. One of its first clients was California Rural Legal Assistance, which helps workers from Mexico navigate the U.S. court system.

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