June 14, 2012

RIPTA to offer language interpretation service

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) implemented a new over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) service to improve communication with non-English speaking passengers. Voiance Language Services was selected as the supplier of translation and interpretation services.

RIPTA customer service employees, including Kennedy Plaza ticket window and photo ID office staff, have been trained to use the OPI service. In addition, these employees have been trained to read basic phrases in a few different languages so that they can tell non-English speaking customers to please hold while they connect to Voiance Language Services. Once connected, the interpreter relays the information back and forth between the RIPTA employee and the customer.

The agency, as a federal grant recipient, is required by the Federal Transit Administration to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendments. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that no person in the United States, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded, denied benefits or subjected to discrimination, under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The new OPI service demonstrates RIPTA’s commitment to ensuring full compliance with the requirements of Title VI.

“We are excited to announce that RIPTA now has 24/7 access to over-the-phone interpretation in over 170 languages, said Charles Odimgbe, RIPTA CEO. “For individuals who have a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English, language can be a serious barrier to accessing important RIPTA services and obtaining vital information. We are committed to breaking these language barriers and opening new lines of communication with our customers.”

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