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Lexington is in need of multi-lingual interpreters to keep up with immigration

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Stu Johnson
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Lexington Multi-Cultural Affairs Coordinator Isabel Taylor-11-15-22 Before Council's General Government Committee

More immigrants continue to make central Kentucky their home. Lexington Multi-Cultural Affairs Coordinator Isabel Taylor said 2006 found 27 languages in the public school system’s learning English programs. In 2022, Taylor noted that number has grown to 96 different languages. Members of the City Council’s General Government Committee got an annual Global Lex report last week. Afterward, Taylor said that growth demonstrates a need.

“It says that we need better infrastructure to be an international city. Because we already are an international city and so we need to catch up with who we are,” said Taylor.

The Global Lex leader said immigration law is sometimes described as complex as tax law. Taylor noted there’s been much change in immigration law over the last several years. Taylor added immigrants and refugees typically exhibit wage-earning qualities.

“Immigrants are twice as entrepreneurial. They open businesses twice as often as local people, but refugees are even more entrepreneurial. Why, because they don’t speak English and they have to create a job for themselves many times. And they see niches of opportunity,” said Taylor.

Taylor said there’s a significant need for additional interpreters. She said there’s a high burnout rate and interpreters also move on to bigger cities.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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