Fri, Oct 27, 2006 - Page 21 News List

A helping hand 翻譯好幫手

A man carries flags from various countries through the streets of San Francisco during a march to support the rights of San Franciso's numerous immigrants, May 1, 2006.
今年5月1日在支持舊金山大批移民者權益的遊行中,一名男子身背各國國旗走在舊金山街頭。 (照片:美聯社)

PHOTO: AP

Foreigners in San Francisco will soon be able to get a Spanish "hola" or Korean "yeobose" translated into "hello" by dialing up an interpreter who can instantly help them pay a utility bill, apply for credit cards or buy an opera ticket. A toll-free telephone number will connect immigrants, tourists and business travelers to translators standing by to communicate a caller's needs to the city government and a handful of San Francisco businesses that have signed on to the eight-language trial program.

The Your World, Your Language service is a collaboration between telecommunications giant AT&T and interpretation provider Language Line Services. It is starting in San Francisco, where nearly half of all residents speak a language other than English, but the plan is to go nationwide over the next year-and-a-half.

"Clearly, the demographics of the country are staggering, and we believe once the service is readily available it will be used by millions," said Louis Provenzano, president of Language Line Services.

The service is free for callers, with participating companies and organizations paying for the two-way translations - about US$15 (NT$500) for a 10-minute call. Language Line already offers over-the-phone interpreters fluent in over 170 languages to government agencies, health care institutions, insurers and other companies, including AT&T.

The service will first be available in eight languages that reflect the linguistic diversity of San Francisco: Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

As part of their partnership, Language Line Services is providing the interpreters while AT&T is routing calls and maintaining the telephone network. (AP)

Today's Words 今天單字

1. collaboration n.

合作 (he2 zuo4)

例: The book was the result of a collaboration between the County government and Ministry of Transportation And Communications.

(這本書是縣政府與交通部的合作成果。)

2. demographics n.

人口統計資料 (ren2 kou3 tong3 ji4 zi1 liao4)

例: The demographics of the island are changing rapidly due to immigration.

(由於移民湧入,這座島的人口結構急速變化中。)

3. staggering adj.

驚人的 (jing1 ren2 de5)

例: The rate of teenage pregnancy is staggering.

(青少女懷孕的比例相當驚人。)

4. diversity n.

多元 (duo1 yuan2)

例: The holiday was held to celebrate cultural diversity.

(這個節日是為了慶祝多元文化而設立。)


舊金山的外國人很快就能將西班牙文的「hola」或韓文的「yeobose」翻譯成「hello」,只要打通電話,翻譯員就能立即幫忙繳水電帳單、申請信用卡或買歌劇票。移民、觀光客和商務旅客只要打免付費電話給隨時待命的翻譯員,將需求傳達給市政府及已加入八國語言測試計畫的舊金山各企業即可。

「你的世界,你的語言服務」是美國電信龍頭AT&T 與提供翻譯的Language Line Services公司之合作計畫,已在近半數居民都不講英語的舊金山展開,一年半後將陸續推往全美。

Language Line Services總裁路易士.波維薩諾說︰「顯然,美國的人口統計資料相當驚人,我們相信一旦服務推出,將有數百萬人受惠。」

來電者無需負擔服務費用,合作的公司行號則需支付雙向翻譯的費用,通話十分鐘約十五美元(新台幣五百元)。Language Line已提供精通一百七十多種語言的電話翻譯員給政府單位、健保機構、保險公司與包括AT&T等其他公司行號。

率先推出的服務將包括八種語言,反映出舊金山的語言多元︰廣東語、日語、韓語、華語、俄語、西班牙語、菲律賓塔加洛語與越南語。

合作關係中,Language Line提供翻譯員,AT&T則轉接電話並維持電話網絡暢通。 (美聯社/翻譯:賴美君)

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