N.J. Department Now Heard in 150 Languages

August 10, 2004

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance has new program designed to tear down language barriers and make it possible for consumers to be heard in more than 150 languages.

The department has contracted with Language Line Services, a provider of over-the-phone interpretation from English into the caller’s native language. The service is available through the department’s consumer line (1-800-446-SHOP) and its Camden and Newark offices.

“This new service enhances our ability to help consumers, regardless of their ethnic background or their ability to communicate effectively in English,” Commissioner Holly C. Bakke said. “It is another tool at our disposal to make sure everyone can access the information they need.

When calling, consumers who speak languages other than English are prompted to identify the language they are most comfortable using, and a time that is most convenient for them to speak with an interpreter and a department staff member. The staff member will then contact Language Line Services and a three-way conversation will ensue.

“We are committed to doing all we can to protect consumers in the marketplace and help them navigate the complex worlds of banking, insurance and real estate,” Bakke said. “With this interpreter service, our ability to understand and help consumers is further expanded.”

Since the program began in July, the department said it has fielded calls in Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Russian, among other languages.

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