Featured Article from Conferencing

Videoconferencing Translation Assists Criminal Proceedings

September 13, 2017

In London alone, there are 300 native languages spoken, which means that the language barrier can be quite extreme, especially when it comes to law enforcement. In the UK, law enforcement groups are using a new, remote translation service, provided by thebigword. When non-English speakers, or those who still struggle with the language, need a translator, one can be provided via videoconferencing. This helps not only the police doing any type of questioning but the person in question feel a little bit more comfortable and secure.

There are webcams and a screen for said translator, which is actually beneficial because it also reduces the challenges and costs of having to bring translators to the courthouse. By using videoconferencing, translators can come from anywhere and there is always one they can put on standby if the original does not show up.

The idea of bringing mobile translation devices to the streets is also a very appealing option. For instance, not everyone who witnesses a crime is willing to go to a police station to report it. Or maybe they do not speak the language.  With videoconferencing and the translation tools, police can go to the scene of a crime or reported incident and speak directly to witnesses. In addition to creating a more efficient law enforcement process, it also creates a public service initiative by making first responders more forthcoming and approachable, while also helping increase the volume of crimes that are reported.

The method for on-the-spot interviews or interactions would be Skype, an available smartphone app that would just need on-hand translators. This is not just something that would be beneficial for the UK but on a universal level, and one that could be extended to any videoconferencing platform, not just Skype.  Considering the many languages spoken in New York City alone, the benefits of leveraging videoconferencing for first responders could be a significant asset.

Edited by Erik Linask