Language Assistance Services
The Government facilitates access to language assistance services, such as interpreting and translation services, to help clients with limited English access public services and information.
The new Telephone Interpreting Service
A new Telephone Interpreting Service for government agencies replaced Language Line on 1 October 2019. This service helps clients with limited English to communicate with government agencies through telephone interpreters available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in over 180 languages. You can visit the provider’s website to learn about the new service features and how to join the new service.
Who can join the new Telephone Interpreting Service through the government contract
The new Telephone Interpreting Service is available to government agencies through a new government contract.
All agencies generally entitled to purchase services under collaborative contracts are eligible to join the new contract directly, this includes: central government departments; crown entities; local government authorities and district health boards.
The largest government users of Language Line who were eligible to join the new Telephone Interpreting Service have already signed up to the new service. The more infrequent users of telephone interpreting services may still be in the process of signing up.
How to check for eligibility
If you are unsure about your eligibility to join the new government contract, you should visit the Government procurement website and if necessary apply for eligibility. You are encouraged to do this as soon as possible.
Ezispeak’s website(external link) also includes information about checking for eligibility.
If you would like to speak with a member of the Ezispeak team, please contact the dedicated toll-free number on 0800 453 771.
Options for non-eligible agencies
Agencies outside government, such as non-government and community organisations, primary health care providers and private businesses, are not able to join the new government contract directly.
If your organisation is not eligible, you can contact:
- Ezispeak about accessing telephone interpreting services separately from the government contract
- Other providers of telephone interpreting services.
You may already be contracting or engaging with a participating agency. A participating agency can procure telephone interpreting services and make these available to you and your clients. However, they would need to cover the costs directly as they would be unable to on-charge the service to you.
How to use the new Telephone Interpreting Service
If you are a government agency representative requiring a telephone interpreter to communicate with your non English speaking client:
- Call Ezispeak on 0800 854 737, press 1 for a phone interpreter, have your agency PIN number ready and follow the prompts. The system will connect you to an interpreter as quickly as possible.
If you are a member of the public requiring language assistance to communicate with a government agency:
- Call or visit the desired government agency, ask for a telephone interpreter, specify the language you want and wait to be connected to an interpreter.
If you require document translation services you can continue to contact the Department of Internal Affairs’ Translation Service on 0800 872 675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ezispeak and other providers can also assist with document translation and associated language services.
For New Zealand Sign language Interpreting Services and other associated services, please visit the NZ Relay website(external link).