Do you speak another language? You do now!
Imagine a tool that could enable someone within seconds to summon a human language interpreter to help navigate a troublesome language barrier. Let’s face it, if you are having an important conversation with someone who speaks another language, tools like Google Translate most of the time, just won’t cut it. Accuracy is paramount when communicating with one another. Knowing that there could be someone just a few kilometers away that speaks Spanish just when you need help most, wouldn’t it be nice to connect with that person? To be sure, there is someone somewhere that could solve all of your language interpreting problems.
Michael Burak and his Calgary based company Languages in Motion Ltd. (LiM) realized that there was a smart way to address such a problem. Burak’s idea was to utilize an online platform to allow for seamless communication between people in more than 200 different languages in 45 seconds or less. All one needs is a smartphone or PC, an internet connection and to register for LiM’s LISA platform – which stands for Languages in Motion Interpreting Services App.
But if one feels that an in-person appointment is more appropriate, LISA can also be used to set up a scheduled appointment with a professionally certified interpreter. “The whole idea is to use modern communication technology to drive seamless communication worldwide,” said Burak. “The other big aim for launching this platform is to provide interpreters the opportunity to leverage their skill set and make money if they don’t have enough clients in their local market.”
But before Burak was involved, the genesis for a sort of on-demand connected database of human interpreters first involved former Calgary police officer Bill Dodd. Dodd worked with the Calgary Police Service for 25 years and is now LiM’s Alberta Director of Interpreter Services. Working as a police officer was where he first got the idea to develop a database of interpreters. Dodd spent time with the diversity resources unit, which works with diverse communities in Calgary. Dodd said front-line personnel would often request interpretation services. At the other end, he’d get phone calls from interpreters, asking how they could do work on behalf of the police service.
Dodd helped steer the development of software that can store a list of interpreters, their credentials, and their contact info, and link that information with real-time interpretation requests. The interpreters working with LISA are independent contractors, whose credentials are vetted. Customer requests get sent real-time into the LISA platform to available interpreters.
“One of the issues I found in the police service is the idea that it’s too hard to find interpreters,” said Dodd in a CBC News story. “It’s time-consuming, it’s hard. We’ve made this as simple as possible.”
Partnering with organizations such as universities and charities/NPOs in order to promote interpreting and translation as a viable profession can be accomplished through the use of LISA. The platform also enables users to be well connected with other users of interpreting services and implement suggestions into education and curriculum. According to Burak, LISA aims to provide interpreters with tools that make their work simple so they spend more time interpreting, and less time worrying about business administration.
For more information and to request a demo, visit languagesim.com/lisa.