Communication between different languages is an age-old challenge. But the Collierville Police Department will soon be getting help from a new technology aimed at instantly bridging the gap.
The device is called Enabling Language Service Anywhere or ELSA, a simple black box that is clipped to the belt of the user. With the push of a button, live translators are available over a wireless network to assist with translating a mind boggling 180 different languages and dialects.
The live translators interact with the officer and client 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Assistant Chief Jeff Abeln said, “This ability to provide real-time communication between people who speak different languages in virtually any situation or environment is key in assisting the police department to better serve our citizens and guests.”
The developer of ELSA, RTT Mobile Interpretation, originally designed the device for law enforcement but is now seeing its use in many applications, including first responders and other healthcare workers, government agency employees and financial services employees. The company mission is to “provide affordable and highly mobile interpretation solutions to overcome language barriers and to improve communication through their technology platform.”
The Collierville Police department is among several Mid-South public safety agencies that have recognized the value of the device.
“Once this becomes fully functional and running, it’s going to break down a lot of barriers in communication,” said Police Chief Larry Goodwin.
The department is currently training its officers on the device. So, residents should see it on the streets soon.