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New service can help everyone speak the same language

Published on

Journal Staff

City Hall can now provide on-demand translation to anyone needing help in more than 240 languages.

Language Line Solutions is a phone-in service that gives city staff access to 11,000 professional interpreters in audio or video, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Customers whose first language isn’t English can request a translator when they call City Hall. And those arriving in person can simply point to their language of choice on a posted sign, said Andrea Lane, Sarnia’s customer care manager.

The service can also help people with hearing difficulties by offering sign-language interpreters on video calls.

Access to one-touch, on-demand interpretation can help city staff overcome those language and cultural barriers that arise from time to time, Lane said.

“It’s something we’re becoming more aware of.”

Translators can also be used by in the field by bylaw enforcement officers, “who have identified times where it could have been useful,” she added.

International students studying at Lambton College and living in Sarnia are another group that might benefit.

The service is already being used by 911 emergency staff, but is not yet available to Sarnia Transit drivers.

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