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Metro Human Relations Commission Introduces BabbLine, a Phone Interpretation Service

9/16/2015

Nashville, Tenn. - The Metro Human Relations Commission is excited to introduce BabbLine (babble line). BabbLine is a phone platform that allows limited English proficient parents of Metro Nashville Public School students to better understand the forms that are sent home by their respective schools.

The Office of English Language Learners at MNPS recorded transcripts for nine forms in the top five languages spoken by families in Nashville. These recordings explain the forms’ intent and, if necessary, how to fill them out. For a list of the forms that are available on the platform, visit: www.BabbLine.com. Currently, there are five languages on the platform: English, Spanish, Arabic, Kurdish (Behdini), and Somali. In the coming weeks the EL Office will be adding five more languages: Vietnamese, Nepali, Burmese, Amharic, and Kachin.

Utilizing the Platform

Forms that are accessible through the Babbline platform include a menu describing how to use the platform:

BabbLine Platform

  1. Dial 615-880-3333.
  2. Dial the number that corresponds to the desired language. You can see this number (next to the language in its native script) in the menu on top of the form or you can wait to hear the language options (spoken in the respective languages).
  3. Dial the form number listed on the top right hand of the page. You can also wait to hear a list of all the forms available and select the one you want.

History of the Project

The Metro Human Relations Commission started developing this concept almost two years ago as a solution for Metro government. However, creating a platform of this magnitude without testing the idea seemed ill-advised. Thus, the MHRC approached the English Language Office at MNPS about doing something on a smaller scale for its families. The EL Office was receptive and has been an important resource and partner. Building the platform faced a number of technological hurdles and implementation required significant coalition building between MHRC, MNPS, and Metro Information Technology Services. While it hasn’t been easy, a lot was learned and, ultimately, no taxpayer dollars (outside of salaries) were spent developing the BabbLine system.

Analytics

The Metro Human Relations Commission will work with Metro Information Technology Services to keep track of how the platform is utilized. Understanding the platform’s usage will aid the MHRC in deciding whether or not to pursue a much more robust system based on the same concept for all of Metro government.

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