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Language Line tops 50,000 calls

Hon Judith Collins
Minister for Ethnic Affairs

18 July 2014

Language Line tops 50,000 calls

Telephone interpreting service, Language Line, has helped a record number of people in New Zealand gain access to essential services in 2013/14, Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins says.

“Our nation’s population is becoming increasingly diverse, with 25 per cent of New Zealanders born overseas. Thanks to Language Line’s services, 55,000 New Zealanders have received interpretation support this year. This is a terrific result,” Ms Collins says.

“It’s important that while migrants and tourists gain confidence with the English language, they are still able to access essential services and overcome language barriers.

“If we’re to fully benefit from our nation’s diversity, we must ensure that people who live here but have limited English are able to participate in all aspects of New Zealand public life – Language Line plays a vital role in getting them started.”

Language Line is run by the Office of Ethnic Affairs and offers immediate access to interpreters of 44 languages to help those who speak little or no English access essential services from government and private organisations free of charge.

“Over the past decade Language Line has facilitated more than 300,000 transactions between government agencies, migrants, tourists and long-term residents. This year’s progress shows the service is going from strength to strength,” Ms Collins says.

Agencies who use the service include government departments, insurance firms, the Human Rights Commission, Victim Support and counsellors for family violence victims.

“This achievement highlights the value this Government places on empowering New Zealand’s migrant and ethnic communities so they can make a positive contribution to our nation,” Ms Collins says.

Information about Language Line can be found at languageline.govt.nz.

To access language help people ring or visit the service provider they are seeking information from and ask for Language Line and the language they wish to use. The service provider is responsible for connecting to an interpreter and initiating a three way conversation between the customer, themselves as the service provider and the interpreter.

ENDS

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