OPI Services in Florida

911 Calls: Interpreting Services in the Moments of Emergency

Over-the-Phone interpreters often become participants in intense, stressful situations. In many cases, they don’t know how these situations were resolved, but their job is very crucial in an emergency situation. The main characteristics of interpreting services during 911 calls are neutrality, confidentiality, accuracy, and rapidity.

Homeland Language Services interpreters face 911 calls every day. They are professional linguists and possess strong skills such as:

  • Bilingual level of English and target language
  • High memory retention
  • Developed emotional intelligence
  • Stress tolerance
  • Quick reaction
  • Cross-cultural communication

Our interpreters have medical certifications, moreover, they continuously participate in internal training to raise and support their professionalism. In a 911 call, they are capable of dealing with any type of situation and provide assistance for:

  • Medical emergencies;
  • Police and victims of crime (cases of fraud, theft, murder, violence, domestic violence);
  • People suffering mental health issues/illnesses;
  • Accidents.

To understand part of the interpreter’s role in a 911 call, we asked them to share some experiences from their daily work.

Here is a story of a 911 call from a Spanish-English Over-the-Phone interpreter at Homeland Language Services.

A little girl called 911. The operator added me as an interpreter to a call and I started listening carefully. To my surprise, this girl was whispering. She said that somebody walked into her house, while she was absolutely alone. I worked as an operator – fast and accurate. We asked her address, who was at home, what that guy looked like, and if he had a weapon with him. The girl continued whispering. She was really frightened and began to cry. The 911 operator, with the help of my voice in her native language, tried to calm her down. She was almost quiet when she heard that the guy walked up to the second floor. She was in the bathroom on that floor. She began to panic, but the operator asked her to keep the phone on, not to speak aloud, and wait for help. The operator said that the police were on their way to her house. The last thing that we heard from that small girl was that the door of the bathroom was opening… and the call ended.

Interpreters in Homeland Language Services are always ready to provide high-quality language assistance during emergency situations in 100+ languages.

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