New Orleans 911 center launches live audio language translation for non-English speaking callers

Councilwoman Helena Moreno is demanding answers from the head of the 911 call center
Councilwoman Helena Moreno is demanding answers from the head of the 911 call center
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:23 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Emergency communication specialists at the Orleans Parish Communication District now have access to live translations on their screens when a non-English speaking person needs help in New Orleans.

On May 15, Executive Director Tyrell Morris announced that the district’s technology partner Carbyne now offers live audio language translation in its emergency call-taking platform, APEX.

In a press release, OPCD says the new tech will instantly identify the caller’s spoken languages from 14 available languages. Emergency communication specialists will then see real-time, on-screen translations of the caller’s audio.

Officials say OPCD call takers will still conference in a certified interpreter to ask additional questions and provide emergency instructions but officials say the new translation technology would cut down on human error, enhance dispatch times and further break language barriers.

The press release says OPCD staff is fully trained on the new feature and started using it on May 12, 2023 without any challenges.

The translation services come after a FOX8 report highlighted a 911 call between an OPCD call taker, a third-party translator and a Spanish-speaking gunshot victim.

CyraCom International says the translator violated protocols when she tried to convince the OPCD call taker that the gunshot victim was faking his emergency. CyraCom International says the translator has not been employed with the company since November 2022.


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