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Interpreter Assistance

Image of two people speaking different languages.

Find an Interpreter for Immediate Assistance

When you have immediate translation needs, we're here to help. City employees who are part of the Bilingual Merit Pay Program can help you and customers with on-the-spot interpreting for those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

When you identify or suspect that an individual has a language access need…

STEP 1:

Identify the language the individual is speaking. If you do not recognize the language, use the "I speak..." Language Identifier to have them indicate which language they prefer or use a language identification app on your phone.

STEP 2:

Tell the individual or indicate with gestures that you would like them to please wait until you find assistance. If the customer speaks Spanish, you can use this list of Spanish phrases to let the customer know you are getting assistance.

STEP 3:

If you are near a main customer service desk, ask the City employee there to assist you using the handheld interpretation device.

STEP 4:

If you are not near a main customer service desk or the device doesn't work for your conversation, and the customer's language is:

  • Spanish or Hmong:
    • Contact one of the City’s interpreters using the City Interpreters and Translators List .
    • Don’t forget to utilize the Microsoft Teams program for virtual interpreting and access to bilingual interpreters across the City.
    • If you cannot access a City interpreter, follow the directions below for other languages.
  • American Sign Language:
    • Contact 24 Hour Sign Language Services by email or by phone at 888-811-2424, or Translingua at 303-442-3471 or www.translingua.com.
    • A virtual interpreter may be the best option. This takes about 10 minutes to set up.
    • These are pay-per-use services and are paid for by your dept. You may pay with your P-card (an additional 5% fee may be added when using 24Hour Sign Language) or request that your department be invoiced.
  • Other Languages, including Hmong and Laotian:
    • Community Language Cooperative https://communitylanguagecoop.com/
      • Multiple language interpretation services.
      • Contact Indira Guzman at 303-564-5649. Please call first and text if she does not answer.
      • Invoices are e-mailed once a month and p-card payments accepted. Invoice questions can be directed to Gabriela, gaby@communitylanguagecoop.com.
    • TransLingua www.translingua.com 
      • Multiple language interpretation services.
      • Over the phone and video remote interpretation
      • Spanish rates: $1.25/min (phone) or $1.35/min (video), minimum $50.00
      • American Sign Language: $1.50 (video), minimum $60.00

Other considerations:

  • Children often serve as informal interpreters for parents. Depending on the topic of discussion, this may not be an appropriate solution. In that case, the child could assist in identifying the language and communicating to the parents that the City can provide a professional interpreter at no cost.
  • Interpreters may also provide oral translation of written documents (e.g. An individual has a court summons in English that they cannot understand).
  • You may not require the LEP individual to use a professional interpreter if they prefer to use an informal interpreter.
  • Always speak directly to the individual. Do not speak through the interpreter as if the person is not there.
  • Remember that a lack of English proficiency does not mean a lack of education.

For questions or more information about interpretation, contact Martha Heinz at ext. 2089.