There’s a new free interpreter phone service available, and though it’s only available in six markets at the moment — Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC — it promises to be national by the end of the week. In those markets the service can be accessed by calling 1-888-855-0811.
The languages? This service offers Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. I wasn’t able to test it, because it’s not in my market, but here’s how it’s supposed to work — someone calls the new service (it’s called “Your World. Your Language.”) and selects their preferred language and a business category. A human interpreter comes on the line and helps the caller communicate with the business.
The press release says “Your World. Your Language. allows limited English speakers to access a host of key commercial, retail and entertainment businesses anytime and at no charge,” and according to the site’s frequently asked questions, “consumers who call for assistance are referred only to these participating businesses.” It’s not clear if someone called trying to reach a specific business — their doctor, for example — would be able to use the service to communicate, since there would be no referral involved.
The Web site for the service is available at http://www.languageline.com/yourworldyourlanguage/. I’ll try to get more on it when it enters my market.