What is the Volunteer Interpreter Dispatching System?
This system dispatches registered volunteer interpreters to administrative offices such as ward offices, welfare facilities, schools and nursery schools to support foreign residents who have difficulties communicating in Japanese. It is operated by YOKE and International Lounges within the City of Yokohama.
The system has about 400 volunteers who provide help in up to 25 different languages.
There is no charge to use this service.
Yokohama Association for Communications and Exchanges pays the volunteer interpreter a set-up price to cover transportation fees etc.
How to use the Volunteer Interpreter Dispatching System
Outline of this system
1 Languages available
・English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, French, Tagalog, Indonesian, Russian, and other languages. (in sequence according to registered number of interpreters)
2 Interpretation services available
・Administrative procedures, individual meetings at schools, home visits by school teachers and access to welfare facilities are examples of matters eligible for interpretation services.
・The following do not qualify for interpretation services:
・Medical matters, teaching aid in classrooms, and interpretation demanding professional and specialized fields of knowledge.
・Interpretation services at events and parties (including entrance ceremonies at schools and on sports days).
3 Locations to which interpretation service volunteers are dispatched
・The volunteer interpreter service is categorized into "School Interpreting"and "Administrative Interpreting". Each will be dispatched to different types of facilities.
(1) School interpreting volunteers can be dispatched to municipal elementary and junior high schools in Yokohama.
(2) Administrative interpreting volunteers can be dispatched to Yokohama City Hall, Ward Offices, Health and Welfare Centers, municipal high schools and schools for special needs education(special schools for the handicapped), welfare and other facilities established by the City of Yokohama, children's guidance offices, community medical treatment and education centers (regional rehabilitation centers), licensed nursery schools etc.
4 Days and times available for dispatching
・In general, for up to two hours between 8:45 and 17:15 on weekdays except holidays.
5 Fee for using the volunteer interpreter system
・Free of charge.
・Yokohama Association for International Communications and Exchanges pays the volunteer interpreter a set-up price to cover transportation fees etc.
6 How can one apply for this system?
(1) Through relevant organizations such as administrative offices, welfare facilities, and schools etc.
(2) Foreign residents who would like to request a volunteer interpreter can contact YOKE and the International Lounges noted below.
・Please apply at least a week in advance of the day a volunteer interpreter is needed.
7 Please note
・Interpreters are dispatched as volunteers and are not employed as professional interpreters.
・Volunteer interpreters and the Yokohama Association for International Communications and Exchanges assume no responsibility for the accuracy of their interpretations.
・The administrative offices, welfare facilities, and schools through which the service is arranged are responsible for the accuracy of the interpretations.
Q1 Can YOKE dispatch interpreters to national/prefectural administrative offices or national/prefectural/private welfare facilities or schools?
Since the system is subsidized by the City of Yokohama, only administrative offices, welfare facilities, and schools run by the City of Yokohama are eligible to use the system at this time. Therefore, national/prefectural administrative offices or national/prefectural/private welfare facilities or schools are not eligible.
Q2 Can YOKE dispatch an interpreter to hospitals?
The system relies on the goodwill and knowledge of its volunteers to provide interpretation services. Interpretation at the time of medical treatments at hospitals, interpreting classroom lectures, or interpreting matters which require highly technical terms are beyond the scope of this service and are therefore not eligible. However, administrative procedures such as hospitalization and payment at hospitals run by the City of Yokohama are eligible.
Consultation regarding Volunteer Interpreters
YOKE (Person in charge of Volunteer Interpreters)
TEL 045-222-1209 (Japanese, English, Chinese and Spanish), FAX 045-222-1187
Aoba International Lounge TEL 045-989-5266
Kanazawa International Lounge TEL 045-786-0531
Konan International Lounge TEL 045-848-0990
Kohoku International Lounge TEL 045-430-5670
Hodogaya International Exchange Corner TEL 045-337-0012
Minami Shimin Katsudo Center (available only in Japanese) TEL 045-232-9544