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Published March 11, 2013, 04:57 PM

Device helps 9-1-1 dispatchers deal with language barrier

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- 9-1-1 dispatchers in Fargo-Moorhead deal with it on a weekly basis. Emergency calls where there is a language barrier.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- 9-1-1 dispatchers in Fargo-Moorhead deal with it on a weekly basis. Emergency calls where there is a language barrier.

In St. Cloud, Minnesota police there have started using the ELSA unit. The technology is a hands free, mobile interpretation device. It is the size of the cell phone and can be clipped to an officer's shirt.

It provides on demand, immediate interpretation of 180 different languages.

Right now, local police use a cell phone that is connected with a national interpreter service.

Lt. Joel Vettel with the Fargo Police says, "if there is a better mousetrap we will look at it respectfully and if we can do a better product we will look at that, but we will not jump into that we do testing to insure we are getting the best possible thing to the public."

St. Cloud police say it has used the technology for a week and already used it during three calls including the delivery of a baby.

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