Fairfax County is home to people of diverse backgrounds, including significant Hispanic, Indian, Korean, Pakistani and Vietnamese populations. The U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 American Community Survey found that 35 percent of Fairfax County's residents age five and older speak a language other than English at home.
Each year DPSC receives approximately 20,000 calls that require language interpretation. Our call takers can connect with foreign language interpreters at Language Line Services, who ask call takers' questions so they can provide the caller with the necessary public safety assistance. Interpreters only ask questions that the call taker directs them to ask. Word by word, they translate what is said by both the call taker and the caller. Interpreters are expected to regard all of the caller's information as confidential, but they may be subpoenaed.
If a call for public safety assistance requires the use of the Language Line Services, the caller must be aware of the following:
- There will be a brief moment at the beginning of the call when connecting to the language line interpreter while the 9-1-1 call taker is exchanging credentials with the service provider.
- While we understand that you want to quickly explain your situation to the 9-1-1 call taker, it is important to not interrupt this process and instead wait to be prompted for information. This is a vital process before information can be obtained and thus any interruptions may cause a delay in call processing.
- Due to the fact that the 9-1-1 call taker must connect with a third party interpreter, call processing time may be increased in comparison to English speaking calls.