Impact of gig worker bill AB 5 on translators and interpreters

Posted: January 1, 2020
Updated: 6:59 PM by  Dan Plante

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – She’s one of those people with a unique talent. Highly trained, highly specialized and as of today highly endangered in California.

“I do medical translations, vital life saving translations for about 50-clients all over the world. As of today, those clients told me they don’t need me anymore because of the new California law,” says Mary Konstantinidou.

While most people are celebrating the new year, Mary and about a million other people here in California have little to be happy about. As of New Year’s Day, her 35-year career as a Greek to English interpreter is considered illegal in California.

It’s a little something the lawmakers in Sacramento call AB 5.

“After this, I don’t know. I might have to move out of state and that’s not fair. I’ve been paying taxes and helping this state for decades, now they tell me I can’t work,” says Mary.

Her specialty is two-fold: first is the language Greek to English and vise versa. But the other specialty is medical issues; everything from clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies to helping save lives in an emergency situation.

“These are vital, lifesaving skills, highly trained, highly specialized skills. I’m too young to retire and too old to start over, so I don’t know what to do,” says Mary.

So, after three decades of working hard and paying taxes in California, the people she voted for are essentially chasing her out of California.

Too young to retire and too old to start over, Mary is facing a real life crisis.

At this point, for Mary and the others losing their jobs, the only way to fight back is at the ballot box this November.

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