Translation device bridges language gap for emergency responders | Metaglossia: The Translation World |

CHASKA, Minn. — A screaming baby is badly burned, but the mother doesn't speak English and paramedics cannot communicate with her. But the stressful episode is diffused because of a new device that quickly helps locate a translator.

"I have a lady that speaks Arabic," a paramedic tells an Arabic translator. "We need to get some information about her baby."

After learning that the baby was burned in a cooking accident, the paramedic asks the translator to reassure the mother.

"Just let her know that I have a doctor that's with us right now," the translator said. "The gentleman in the gray shirt is a doctor and we're going to be transporting her and the baby to Children's Hospital. Let her know that."

The conversation in New Orleans, which could have occurred anywhere in the United States, was made possible by a device called ELSA: Enabling Language Service Anywhere.