Speakeasy is a community-based telephone service that connects people with a network of language translation volunteers. How might communities use it? It was developed to connect new immigrants with volunteer “Guides” who give advice and agency referrals and offer language interpretation services.
In practice, Speakeasy is not a new concept as many multilingual individuals are already serving as informal interpreters for their family members and friends, but often with uneven results and compromising privacy.
Speakeasy leverages the widespread use of cell phones and connects non-English speakers to guides promptly, reducing the undue burdens placed on callers’ families and friends. It provides individuals access to critical social services and resources while they learn English and acclimate to their new society.