In the Tukwila–SeaTac area, compared to King County averages, life expectancy is seven years shorter and the number of households below the poverty line is 76% higher. Currently there are over 70 languages spoken in SeaTac and Tukwila schools and households. By helping people overcome language barriers perhaps we can improve outcomes.
The Interpreter Connect project seeks to make mobile phone interpretation services available for free to anyone in the SeaTac-Tuckwila community. By texting “spanish” to the Interpreter Connect phone number, people can request interpretation from a number of volunteers in their community. Volunteer interpreters are given Android phones preloaded with an app for accepting or rejecting interpretation requests, and scheduling times when they will be available to interpret.
There is a pilot that has been running since March, and will continue until the free phone service donated by T-Mobile runs out this August. There are 11 interpreters currently registered in the system and a total of 8 phone calls have been placed through it.