DMV fielding translation devices to better serve Coloradans who have difficulty communicating in English

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It’s rare that the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles and science fiction intersect, but with the DMV’s drive to better serve all Coloradans, that just happened.

The DMV is fielding over 70 pocket-sized devices that can interpret more than 80 languages, similar to universal translators found throughout popular science fiction franchises.

Each of the State of Colorado's 35 driver license offices have received the Pocketalk Plus translators and are able 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.

“We are happy to get these devices to State driver license offices and believe they will be a game changer for serving all Coloradans,” DMV Senior Director Electra Bustle said. “The translators will allow us to serve our non-English speaking customers more effectively and efficiently than ever before.”

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.

Coloradans can DMV anywhere. Yes, anywhere. Online, in-office or on the go, Coloradans have more options than ever before. Discover all the ways to DMV at DMV.Colorado.gov/Anywhere.

Photo of a DMV employee demonstrating how to use a PocketTalk translator.
Colorado Division of Motor Vehicle staff members demonstrate how Pocketalk, a device used to translate conversations, works on Dec. 6, 2021, at DMV headquarters in Lakewood. (Derek Kuhn/DOR Photo)