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St. Cloud police use mobile technology for real-time translation help

Monday, March 11, 2013

The St. Cloud Police Department is using a new technology to help officers communicate with people who speak languages other than English.

The department for the last week has been using a mobile interpreting unit called ELSA, which connects officers to a call center that can do the interpreting in real time. The hands-free, on-demand technology provides immediate communication in 180 languages.

The department has four of the mobile units, which are created by a company called RTT Mobile Interpretation. The ELSA unit is about the size of an average cell phone and can be clipped to an officer’s shirt for hands-free use.

The department has already used the device for at least three different calls for service, helping solve a juvenile issue in Spanish, complete a domestic assault investigation in Oromo and assist with delivering a baby in Somali.

The company also provides a live telephone support center where officers can call a phone number and access the same services without the portable device.


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