December 19, 2022

Pocketalk visits DMV to see innovative use of translation tech

LAKEWOOD, Friday, Dec.16 — Over the past few years, the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has strived  to offer innovative services that benefit Coloradans.

That drive has led to a host of innovations, such as DMV2GO, @Home instruction permit testing, online appointment check-in, MV Express Kiosks, digital IDs, an ever-growing list of online services and more.

One of its most recent innovations — using Pocketalk translation devices to better serve non-English speaking Coloradans throughout the state — caught the attention of Sourcenext US and Europe General Manager Joe Miller, who visited DMV headquarters Thursday, Dec. 15 in Lakewood to see how the DMV’s unique approach to using the device is bridging communication gaps. Sourcenext is Pocketalk’s parent company.

“When I saw the local news story about the DMV using Pocketalk to improve their customer service experience across the state I was thrilled,” shared Miller. “Our mission is to break down communication barriers and create deeper connections. I was eager to learn more about the DMV’s innovation in technology and the impact our translation solutions are having across communities.”

During the visit, DMV Team Members discussed the Division’s willingness to innovate using technology as well as its commitment to providing the best customer service possible. The group also focused on using the devices on a larger scale and how Coloradans have reacted to new methods of communication.

“The DMV is focused on breaking down barriers and ensuring that all of our customers have equitable access to our services,” DMV Senior Director Electra Bustle said. “Pocketalk gives our frontline DMV Team Members a way to quickly translate a conversation two-ways, which enables us to more effectively and efficiently communicate with Coloradans who don’t speak English fluently or at all and has made the visit to the DMV a better experience for the customer and our staff. We always do what we can to empower people, whether they’re Coloradans needing to access DMV services or staff members, who might have the next customer service solution.”

The visit concluded with a demonstration of how the translation devices are used in DMV offices throughout the Centennial State. The DMV also shared a low-tech solution staff devised to speed service in an environment where quickness counts. Staff showed off laminated cards that help non-English speaking customers quickly communicate which language they speak, making DMV service even quicker. The DMV uses the flip side of these cards to quickly gauge customers’ experience communicating through Pocketalk.

In July 2022, the DMV fielded over 70 Pocketalk translation devices, which are pocket-sized and can interpret 82 languages. Each of the State of Colorado’s 35 driver license offices have received two Pocketalk Plus translators to better serve those Coloradans who have difficulty communicating in English.

The translators provide two-way interpretation of written and/or spoken languages including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin and many more. The devices also have a camera which enables the devices to scan and translate documents.

The DMV piloted the devices in December after a staff member identified the translators as a way to get around language barriers. The DMV was pleased with feedback from customers and staff members, and decided to field the translators throughout the Centennial State.

The addition of the translation devices is part of the DMV’s sweeping efforts to better serve Coloradans and provide a 21st Century customer experience. Other efforts to improve customer service for Coloradans who have communications barriers include working to translate all DMV forms into Spanish as well as providing accommodations for people who communicate using American Sign Language.

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