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WSECU offers translation and interpretation services

            Jan. 13, 2009 (Olympia, WA) – To better serve the growing number of credit union members that speak a primary language other than English, Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) offers extensive translation and interpretation services.

            WSECU contracts with Tele-Interpreters, a full-service over-the-phone interpreting language translation company, that provides telephone translations in more than 150 foreign languages.  In seconds, WSECU can access a language interpreter via teleconferencing creating a three-way conversation between the WSECU employee, the non-English speaking member and the interpreter.  This eliminates language barriers and assures the credit union is providing accurate communication.

           Carole Washburn is past chair of the WSECU Board of Directors.

           “We’re doing everything we can to provide extensive translation and interpreter services so that all members feel comfortable when doing business with us,” Washburn said.  “Imagine how intimidating it would be to ask questions about a complicated home loan in a foreign country.  Members with limited English proficiency deserve equal access to all our programs, products and services.  We want them to know that the welcome mat is out at WSECU.”

             In addition to contracting for interpretation services, WSECU also has 41 bi- and multi-lingual employees who collectively speak more than 25 languages and dialects, including American Sign Language.  These employees can provide on-site language translations to assist with various financial transactions, such as opening new accounts, resolving credit card problems and processing loan applications.

             WSECU also offers TTY translation services for members who are deaf or hard of hearing.  TTY is a special telephone that uses print to communicate instead of voice. WSECU employees are trained to take TTY calls and to answer member questions.   WSECU’s TTY Service is available by calling 1-800-811-3128 or (360) 754-8203.  Also, if a WSECU member needs to use a TTY phone, all of WSECU’s branches are equipped with TTY phones for member use. 

             WSECU and its members can also use the State of Washington’s Relay Service.  This is a free service provided by the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ensuring equal communication access to the telephone service for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind and speech-disabled.  Anyone can reach this service by dialing 711 to connect with a Communication Assistant.

             “We know the face of Washington is changing,” Washburn said.  “As of 2003, Washington ranked 4th in the nation for the number of newly arrived refugees.  As our state’s population becomes more diverse, so does WSECU’s membership.  We don’t want language barriers to become access barriers to financial services.”

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