LanguageLine Solutions - Two-Way Radio Wrinkle Gives Police Instant Access to Interpreter Services

Each of us has a resolution for when the calendar turns – a goal to take something old, give it a wrinkle, and make it new again.

The portable two-way radios worn by police officers and other first responders are getting a similar rejuvenation. This new language-access upgrade to an existing technology empowers emergency workers to instantly reach interpreter services when every second counts.

The result is a better outcome for all concerned. Police and community members are able to quickly communicate in a streamlined fashion that saves time and money. Most importantly, the community benefits as officers are able to swiftly harness interpreter services and thus communicate more effectively.


This is an example of what to date has been a typical call flow for a police officer attempting to access an interpreter through their wearable radio:

  1. The officer presses a button on their two-way mobile radio and says, “I need an interpreter.” The officer also identifies the language needed.
  2. Once a dispatcher becomes available, he or she fields the call, then dials an 800 number to reach the region’s language-access partner.
  3. Once connected, the dispatcher requests an interpreter in the language needed.
  4. The interpreter comes on the line and is patched through to the officer.
  5. This standard-access process requires support from a dispatcher and utilizes a resource whose time could be deployed elsewhere. Also, the additional step of using a dispatcher requires time the officer might not have in an emergency.

A Streamlined, Dispatcher-Free Model

This new direct-access method uses the exact same wearable two-way radio, but removes the dispatcher, saving as much as 30 seconds per call in the process.

In this new call flow, a button on the radio is designated specifically for reaching the region’s language-access partner. In this call flow:

  1. The officer presses the button, which initiates a call directly to an 800 number that is specifically designated for area police.
  2. The officer hears a verbal prompt that says, “Please state your desired language.”
  3. The officer states the needed language.
  4. Once the language is confirmed, the call is patched through to a qualified professional interpreter.
  5. The interpreter’s voice is heard over the two-way radio by the officer and the community member. All three parties commence with the call via the radio.

The officer does not need to know the 800 number or enter a client ID. The entire experience is hands-free. 2nd DRAFT - Wearable Radio 5 x 5 Blog Visuals 12.14.18.V23

In bypassing the dispatcher, time is saved in a moment of truth when every second is valuable. The power of accessing interpreter services is put in the hands of the officer.

LanguageLine Can Help

LanguageLine is helping agencies around North America explore this new solution to add streamlined access to their existing equipment. This voice-enabled solution supports emergency services like police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians by making them more efficient.

Please contact us to learn more about how we can help your organization increase the usability of two-way wearable radios and streamline access to interpreter services.

Language Access Solutions for Government Services