Through the past years, Portugal has been The Hotspot for expats looking for a peaceful and warm place to settle in Europe. One of the country’s major appeals is the kind welcome given to newcomers. Another great benefit is communication since Portugal has an increasingly high English-talking population. Still, thinking about those expats who face problems when contacting Portuguese speakers only, the government created a free translation service available through a simple phone call.
Created by the High Commission for Migration (ACM) in the first half of 2020, the Telephone Translation Service (STT) is an amazing tool for inclusion. Initially, aiming to overcome the language obstacle faced by expats while seeking legal documentation in Portugal, the ACM expanded the programme to offer help in personal conversations; for example, when an expat needs to deal with a non-English-speaker landlord while renting a place, or trying to get his tax number sorted, etc.
Difficulties in communicating are a big challenge experienced by immigrants, so this initiative by the Portuguese State shows a genuine intention in making immigrant life easier. Currently, the STT offers a great database that counts 107 translators & interpreters that fluently speak Portuguese and one or more languages.
Contacting the Migrant Support Line is easy, and there are two options available; through a landline phone or a mobile. The number for a landline contact is 808 257 257, and to call from a mobile phone the number is +351 218 106 191. For both options, the call cost is the same as a local Portuguese call and the translation service is free of charge.
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How does the Telephone Translation Service work?
The STT is a telephone conference arranged between the manager of the service institution you want to contact, the translator, and the expat. Currently, 69 languages and dialects are available in this service, covering all continents.
The process is simple, starting with the call from the expat to the Migrant Support Line. When the operator replies, the expat can request access to the telephone translation service. After this first step, the call is transferred immediately to the STT operator, who will ask for the following information:
- Name of the institution/service (if the expat is calling directly from some governmental organization)
- The expat's name
- A national or international telephone number
- The language required
- The desired date and time for the translation service (if there is no availability at the moment).
Based on the request by the expat, the operator will check the possibility of arranging the call. The request options, in this context, can be of immediate assistance or scheduled.
Telephone Translation immediate Services
If the expat needs immediate help, the operator will check the translator's availability. Once the professional is available, the conference will start, merging at the same call the three parties: the expat, the translator, and the third party.
Telephone Translation scheduled Services
If the expat requests an immediate service, but there are no translators available, the operator will try to reschedule it. The expat can also anticipate this problem and propose already a scheduled time. This option will take into consideration the availability of translators. At the scheduled time, the expat should call again to the line informing about the schedule, to be redirected by the operator to the conference room.
During all the time, the STT operator will stay in line conference, making sure that all the service occurs in the best way possible. Although it is essential to mention that the service is very professional and safe. Both the Operator and the Translator are bound to the service secrecy and may not disclose to anyone any information obtained in the course of the translation, in compliance with the conduct letter they signed.
When will this service be available?
Due to the current crises within the Russian invasion towards Ukraine, the STT has been extended. Currently, the Telephone Translation Service is available from Monday to Friday, between 09h00 and 20h00, and on Saturday, between 09h00 and 17h00.
The free Translation Service for foreigners offered by the Portuguese Government is a great and inclusive tool for the several expats living in the country.
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