Photo Credit: Garrett Mills/Flash 90
An emergency call room (illustration).

Bar-Ilan University has established an “Emergency Interpreting Call Center” which is being used by institutions, organizations, and emergency centers for real-time interpreting of essential information for non-Hebrew speakers.

Dr. Michal Schuster and Dr. Tanya Voinova, from the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Humanities, have recruited dozens of volunteer interpreters to work with emergency responders and aid organizations, on an unprecedented scale, helping them respond immediately to callers with various medical, emotional and logistical needs. Families whose loved ones were murdered and abducted are among those receiving assistance.


The Emergency Interpreting Call Center at Bar-Ilan University provides language interpreting in ten languages: English, Arabic, Russian, Ukrainian, Amharic, Tigrinya, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Yiddish. It can be reached by dialing *9392, Ext. 4. The center operates Sundays through Thursdays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Calls from institutions and organizations are redirected to an interpreter in the requested language. Three people stay on the line throughout the conversation: the assistance provider, the service recipient, and the interpreter. Most of the interpreters participating in the initiative are lecturers and graduates of the Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies at Bar-Ilan. All interpreters at the call center, including partners from the Tene Briut Ethiopian-Israeli health organization, are highly trained and experienced, and all adhere to professional ethics, including accuracy, confidentiality, and objectivity.

Approximately half a million people living in Israel experience significant hardships concerning access to public services, including essential life-saving services. This population includes immigrants, Arabs, and other minorities, asylum seekers, and refugees. The Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies provides services to governmental agencies caring for affected families, municipalities and municipal welfare departments, health, emergency and rescue services, and the National Insurance Institute.


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