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Vital language link hits 100,000 interpretations

Media Release
16 January 2008

Vital language link hits 100,000 interpretations

An essential link between official agencies and New Zealanders who speak little or no English has just passed a significant milestone, with more than 100,000 interpretations being made through Language Line.

Language Line is a telephone service managed by the Office of Ethnic Affairs. It provides free interpretations in 39 languages to more than 40 participating organisations, ranging from government departments to councils and health boards.

Language Line manager, Diana Clark says the service is designed to be as instant and user friendly as possible. “Typically, it takes two minutes to set up a conference call with an interpreter, allowing the official and the client to communicate efficiently and in confidence.”

The service was launched as a trial in April 2003 and became permanent in July 2004.

“Last year was an excellent year for Language Line in both growth and consolidation,” said Diana Clark. “The number of participating agencies grew with the addition of the remainder of Inland Revenue and a number of health providers. And we added Portuguese, to help the Brazilian people over here on working holidays, and French, to assist refugees from Central Africa.

“2008 promises to be an even busier year for Language Line, and that means an even better year for clarity in communication for those who speak little or no English.”

Language Line offers interpreting services in the following languages: Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Bengali, Bosnian, Cantonese, Cook Island Maori,
Croatian, Dari, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Mandarin, Māori, Myanmar (Burmese), Niuean,
Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Samoan, Serbian, Sinhalese, Somali,
Spanish, Tamil, Thai, Tokelauan, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Ukrainian, Urdu,

A list of participating agencies can be found at the Office of Ethnic Affairs website:


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