• Email
  • Print

News Updates

Garland Fire/EMS Test Language Translation App

When paramedics assist a patient with limited English proficiency, the communication barrier can be frustrating. Simultaneously, waiting for a translator, whether in-person or over-the-phone, requires patience in a critical situation.

Recently, Garland Fire/EMS personnel began testing a mobile application that could provide language translation without the wait.

The 1st Minute Mobile App is designed to remove language barriers during medical emergencies. The app allows a patient to choose their preferred language and add their symptoms in a checklist format. This information is translated back to the language of the responder who can then determine how to assist the patient.

LanguageMAPS, creator of the 1st Minute Mobile App, is a Dallas-based technology company that is working to create solutions which turn mobile phones into language translation devices.

The goal of the 1st Minute App is to improve the communications capabilities of first responders so they may provide faster and more accurate patient assessments.

Where did the idea come from?

While attending the 2014 AT&T Hackathon in Plano, Texas, the founding members of LanguageMAPS partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the needs of first responders—an underutilized market for the mobile app revolution of the last few years. During the idea-sharing session of the hackathon, a LanguageMAPS team member shared a story of personal experience.

A few months earlier, he walked into a post office and saw that paramedics had just arrived to assist a woman who had fainted. The woman was soon conscious, but her native language—Mandarin Chinese—was a major communication barrier for first responders. This is when the LanguageMAPS team member intervened. Though originally from Malaysia, he spoke some Mandarin, but was unable to translate the woman’s medical terminology. He explained this frustration to his team during the hackathon and wondered if something could be done about language barriers in emergency situations. The team immediately formed around solving this problem—soon, the 1st Minute Mobile App was born.

Objectives of the 1st Minute Mobile App

  • Quick patient assessment
  • Reduces guessing by first responders
  • No cellular/internet connection required
  • Facilitates a relevant conversation in less time (within 60 seconds)


Garland Fire/EMT personnel continue to beta test the app and provide feedback so that it can be improved to meet their ongoing needs.