Language Barriers Create a Challenge in Law Enforcement:

Officers work hard to keep the public safe and maintain authority when crimes or disputes of any sort occur and the most vital resource they have is communication. Accurate communication between police officers and civilians is required in order to promote safety, prevent misunderstandings and derail unnecessary escalations. Without communication, officers are put at a disadvantage and the ability to protect and serve the general public is jeopardized.

In 2013, 61.6 million people foreign and US born spoke a language other than English at home, while most spoke English fluently there were a reported 25.1 million who were considered limited English proficient (LEP). LEP refers to individuals who speak, read and write English less than “very well”. These statistics prove there is a dire need for interpretation services to be used in order to break down language barriers faced by officers while on duty. If officers are not able to properly communicate with the individuals they serve, people will feel as though there is no point in reporting crimes and witnesses won’t feel comfortable coming forward with information. Improved communication allows for better outcomes when it comes to public safety and it encourages and builds stronger relationships between officers and LEP individuals.  

How Language Barriers Can Negatively Affect Law Enforcement:

  • Loss of valuable time and critical information.
  • Loss of public trust.
  • Negatively impacts the reputations of law enforcement agencies.  
  • Miscommunications create a delay in services.
  • Inconveniences are faced through multiple calls and unnecessary visits used to collect missed information.
  • Decreased productivity.
  • Efficiency rates are lowered.
  • Decreased involvement of LEP populations.
  • Prevents the provision of public safety and lowers emergency response times.

Providing Professional Interpretation Services Can Aid in Combating the Negative Effects of Language Barriers Faced in Law Enforcement:

It’s important to ensure officers are equipped with the resources they need in order to properly protect and serve the public. With the amount of linguistic diversity within the United States, providing officers with quick access to remote interpretation services can significantly change interactions between officers and LEP individuals. Interpretation services such as over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) and video remote interpreting (VRI) are great resources to supply officers with while on duty. Taking the time to educate them on how to quickly and effectively access a remote interpreter in the language and dialect they need can greatly reduce the stress, frustration and negative outcomes associated with language barriers.

Professional interpreters greatly aid in allowing all parties involved the ability to understand one another and express themselves on all accounts. When a professional and qualified interpreter is not used there can be misunderstandings regarding important details, a violation of rights and the possibility of a case having insufficient and questionable information in a court of law. Oftentimes justice is not served or potentially served to an innocent individual because a professional interpreter was not used to bridge a language gap. Partnering with a professional language service company (LSC) such as Niki’s Int’l Ltd. can ensure officers are provided with the means they require to combat language barriers faced on duty. Providing solutions required to communicate should not be a question; you are able to obtain accurate information and protect the rights of LEP citizens through the provision of professional interpretation services. Contact Niki’s Int’l Ltd. today in order to equip officers with the tools and solutions they need to protect and serve our communities.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

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