Pharmacists offer polyglot service
If you want to talk to someone in up to 47 different languages in Vienna, don't visit a language school - instead, visit a pharmacist (Apotheke.)
Vienna is a city where people live with many different backgrounds and native languages. This is also reflected in the diversity of languages in the Vienna pharmacies.
On average, six different languages are spoken per pharmacy. Overall, Vienna's pharmacy staff give advice to their clients in 47 different languages, according to a recent survey.
This linguistic diversity is now revealed as part of the project "Health speaks many languages", presented by the Chamber of Pharmacists.
In Vienna, there are currently 95,000 people of Serbian origin, 75,000 people of Turkish origin and 45,000 people of Polish origin (Statistics Austria 2013). Only those who truly understand the advice they receive in the pharmacies, can benefit from it.
"Thanks to the diversity of languages we can respond individually to the needs of the customers, "said Andrea Vlasek, President of the Vienna Chamber of Pharmacists on Wednesday.
"We are trying to reach customers in their own language in order to better serve them," said Viktor Hafner, Vice-President of the Vienna Chamber of Pharmacists.
From now on, it will be possible to see at a glance what languages are spoken in any pharmacy. The pharmacies will post the flags of the languages which they speak.
The promotion of linguistic diversity and particularly the high number of women working in pharmacies with an immigrant background is seen as a very positive role model by integration Councillor Sandra Frauenberger (SPÖ).
"Multilingualism is a great opportunity that we must seize. Vienna speaks 250 languages, there is so much potential that we must seize. With the initiative of the Chamber of Pharmacists of Vienna, multilingualism is made clearer and it is an important contribution to the acceptance and appreciation of diversity in Vienna. "