Imagine you speak limited English. You’ve recently gone through surgery. The in-language experience at the hospital was excellent, as you were provided with interpretation at every point from registration to discharge. You return home feeling confident in your prognosis.
The Hispanic and Asian populations in Bowling Green, Kentucky, have more than doubled since the turn of the century. Fourteen percent of the city’s residents are originally from another country, giving it the highest percentage of foreign-born citizens in the state.
Calls from limited-English speakers to dispatch and other city services come in high volume.
“Daily – I would say multiple times every day,” said Amelia Bowen, Bowling Green Police Communication Manager, in an interview with news station WBKO-13. “We can’t staff someone 24 hours a day that would be able to meet the whole community’s language needs. So LanguageLine breaks that barrier and gives us the instant access we need to help everyone in the community.”
These were the words of Nassau County (NY) Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder on Wednesday when he announced the implementation of the LanguageLine InSight Video Interpreting application in patrol vehicles.
The interpretation service was already available in police precincts, headquarters, and other buildings. The addition of the interpreting application to officers’ cell phones allows them to communicate on-demand with residents using a video interpreter in 36 languages (including American Sign Language), as well as 240 languages in audio-only.
“It’s one way that we’re proving that every single person in Nassau County – in our growingly diverse county – will be respected and be protected,” County Executive Laura Curran said.
The elections office in Potter County, Texas, knew they had a problem after the 2016 Presidential election.
“We know that we have voters who are citizens (who are) eligible to vote and registered to vote, but if they don’t understand the language they may not actually come to vote,” Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley said in this recent video from KFDA News Channel 10 in Amarillo. “(After 2016) we realized we had a gap, particularly with American Sign Language and Somali.”
Most of Houston is located on the gulf coastal plain. A year ago, Hurricane Harvey inundated America’s fourth-largest city with over 50 inches of rain and impacted more than 300,000 housing units. More homes flooded in Houston during Hurricane Harvey than in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. It was the third year in a row that Houston experienced severe flooding.
Accordingly, Houston placed fifth on a recent list of the 10 riskiest American cities for natural disasters. Two other Texas cities, Austin (second) and Dallas (fourth), also made the list.
The City of Houston has been proactive in preparing for natural disasters. Its Public Health Emergency Preparedness Team recently participated in the annual City of Houston Evacuation Hub Exercise. The Houston Health Department recently posted this video depicting the exercise.
Imagine you’re a sales manager at a telecommunications retailer that just rolled out the latest and greatest smartphone. A family of four has come into the store to upgrade their phones, a sale equal to well over $1,000. However, the family only speaks Vietnamese, a language that’s not common in your region.
Fortunately, you can use a mobile app to connect with an interpreter in less than a minute. While you explain the features and benefits of the newest model, the interpreter relays the information to the family in Vietnamese, and in turn relays their questions to you. The interpreter does all of this securely from a remote office, hundreds of miles away.
Language-access clients love the idea that their customers, patients, and citizens have near-instant access to interpretation in a constellation of 240-plus languages, but they wonder about security. Is the private and personal information that is exchanged during these calls as secure as it would be if the interpreter was sitting in a brick-and-mortar call center? Furthermore, how can the quality of these remote workers be assured?
We can’t speak for all providers of language solutions, but this is how LanguageLine reconciles these issues:
Labor Day Weekend typically signifies the end of summer and the start of a new school year. As our kids fill their backpacks, pose for first-day pictures, and board school buses, it’s worth visiting a rather remarkable statistic released this week by the United States Census Bureau:
Hispanic student enrollment in U.S. schools has more than doubled in the last 20 years (1996-2016).
According to the Census Bureau, the number of Hispanic students enrolled in U.S. schools and colleges soared from 8.8 million in 1996 to 17.8 million in 2016 – a 102 percent increase.