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Mobile Language Interpretation Program

NCJ Number
Law and Order: The Management for Police Management Volume: 56 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 54-56
Greg Holt
Date Published
July 2008
3 pages
This article describes the successful implementation of the Language Line Services Program which offers language interpretation via cellular phones in the handling of domestic violence cases.
Arriving at the scene of reported violence, an officer may be unable to communicate in English with the victim or suspect, and all too often the officer must spend precious time finding a method for interpreting the conversation. Even before a domestic violence call comes in, the language barrier affects the ability of police departments to help. As seen in San Francisco and New York City, the Language Line Services Program has offered an effective strategy in bridging the language gap. In New York City, officers carry cell phones that can access language interpretation services in more than 170 languages. Language Line Services is a national provider of language interpretation and document translation. With one-touch dialing, officers can reach the interpreter service, locate an interpreter for the victim's language and then activate the phone's speaker function to begin a three-way conversation between the officer, the victim, and an impartial, professional interpreter. With the number of limited English speakers in the United States on the rise, police departments that are able to improve their ability to communicate quickly in a wide variety of languages will stay ahead of the curve, and it could mean the difference between life and death for violence victims.