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ICBC expands translation service to driver licensing offices

March 21, 2012

 ICBC expands translation service to driver licensing offices  

Customers who need language assistance during the handling of their driver licensing transactions will now be able to converse freely with ICBC in more than 170 languages through an interpreter.

The initiative - provided by Language Line Services - is an on-demand, over-the-telephone translation service that will be rolled out to all 20 of ICBC's driver licensing offices by fall 2012. All interpreters are trained in licensing terminology and, on average, it only takes a few seconds to be connected to an interpreter.

"The province values and celebrates cultural diversity, and this service ensures that British Columbians can have the confidence to speak to an ICBC representative in their language of choice," said Finance Minister Kevin Falcon. "With an increasingly diverse population, more and more companies are realizing that multi-language services are a necessity in meeting the cultural and linguistic needs of B.C.'s diverse marketplace."

"We know that many newcomers to B.C. find the process of getting a driver licence to be different from what they're used to, which can naturally create confusion and anxiety," said Fred Hess, ICBC's vice president of driver licensing. "This free service creates a more comfortable environment that allows customers to speak with our staff and ask questions in the language of their choice."

ICBC launched the translation service in 2010 in claim centres and through its Dial-a-Claim service. The service has proven to be very successful - more than 15,850 calls used the language assistance in 2011 alone.

The most in-demand languages were Mandarin (approximately 4,800 calls), Cantonese (approximately 4,200 calls), Punjabi (approximately 3,000 calls) and Korean (approximately 1,800 calls). Other commonly requested languages include Vietnamese, Farsi, Spanish and Japanese.

The expansion of the translation service to all ICBC driver licensing offices follows a successful pilot at licensing offices in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Point Grey, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver East.

"The feedback from customers on this translation service has been extremely positive," said Hess. "Our customers tell us it's helped make what can be a complicated process understandable, improving their overall experience with us."

"We know that B.C. is a culturally diverse province and we want our customers to know that no matter what language they speak, we speak it too," said Hess.

In addition to this translation service, key information on is also available in Chinese and Punjabi including how to get your driver's licence, how to insure your vehicle and how we can help you get back on the road if you have a claim. Chinese and Punjabi speaking customers can also easily find their nearest auto body shop, Glass Express shop, claim centre, driver licensing office, Autoplan broker or chiropractor in their primary language.

ICBC also provides Chinese and Punjabi versions of its "At the scene of a crash" claims card that customers can keep in their vehicles and use if necessary to help them record all of the vital information they need to gather in order to make a claim.

Media contacts:
Mark Jan Vrem

Lindsay Olsen