Seoul's southern district to provide interpretation services for medical tourists in nine languages

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 8, 2023, 16:12 Updated : July 17, 2023, 15:51

[Courtesy of Gangnam District Office]

SEOUL -- A total of 39 interpreters will help foreign medical tourists accurately communicate with doctors and nurses in Gangnam, a southern district in Seoul well known for rapper Psy's 2012 song "Gangnam Style." The district office will provide an interpretation service in nine languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic for foreigners visiting hospitals and clinics.
According to data released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 248,000 foreign patients visited South Korea to receive health care services in 2022, up 70.1 percent from a year ago. In 2022, patients from 192 countries visited South Korea. Americans accounted for the largest portion, followed by Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Korea, some 497,000 medical tourists visited South Korea in 2019. Tourists visited South Korea mainly to receive internal medicine treatment, plastic surgery and skin treatment. 
Gangnam District Office said in a statement on May 8 that 39 new coordinators were appointed to help medical tourists in nine languages -- English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Mongolian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, and Arabic. When a medical center asks for assistance, the coordinators will use their talents to break the language barrier with patients. The appointed interpreters will work for two years.
"We will continue to maintain our reputation as a representative city of medical tourism by providing South Korea's top service to medical tourists visiting Gangnam," the district office's head Cho Seong-myeong said in a statement. The interpreters will also participate in various programs such as overseas exhibitions designed to attract more medical tourists.
As of 2021, Gangnam had the largest number of medical centers with 2,790 out of 18,261 facilities in Seoul. The district well-known for being the heart of South Korea's fashion and trends also has an area where the country's top aesthetic clinics are located. 
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