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Friday, April 19, 2024

LAPD Olympic Station’s Korean interpretation service crowded on day one

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Youngho Kim, 60, who lives in Los Angeles, headed to the Olympic Police Station on April 1. He didn’t fear the language barrier as Korean interpreters were on site.

With evidence in hand, Kim went to the police station to file a report on the sale of a stolen bike. “My son’s customized bicycle was stolen, and the suspect is now selling the wheels online,” Kim said. “I filed a report and the police said they would get back to me in about three days.”

A volunteer Korean interpreter was present during the entire reporting process. “I felt more comfortable because I felt that Koreans could understand my feelings and emotions,” Kim said, adding, “It was very helpful, and if the interpreter service is activated, many Koreans will be helped.”

The Korean interpretation service at the Olympic Police Station has been crowded with Koreans (including Korean-Americans) since the first day of its implementation.

Ki Yoon Hwang (left), an interpreter volunteer, helped a man filing a case at the Olympic police station on the morning of April 1. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]

On the first day, 15 Koreans used the service during the morning hours (9 a.m. to noon) alone, when Korean interpretation volunteers were deployed at the Olympic Police Station. This means that one volunteer interpreted for five people per hour.

“The issues of Koreans who came to the police station were diverse, including apartment disputes, car glass broken by thieves, assaults between acquaintances, and fraud,” said Ki Yoon Hwang (68-LA), who volunteered as an interpreter for three hours that morning. “Most of the complainants were in their 60s or older, and we only interpreted to the officers as they spoke, following the police station’s guidelines.”

As the demand for Korean interpreters was high from the first day, the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles plans to gradually expand the service in discussion with the police station.

“Once we have more volunteers, we will also be able to help complainants file complaints online,” said James An, president of the Korean American Federation of Los Angeles.

To volunteer as a Korean interpreter: (323) 732-0700

BY YEOL JANG, JUNHAN PARK    [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]