The Kobe Municipal Fire Department has introduced a simultaneous translation service in five foreign languages so that non-Japanese callers can dial 119 and get their needs understood immediately.

The fire department operates a multi-language contact center, where translators of English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese are now on standby around the clock, officials said. The translation service began Sunday.

When a call comes in, a three-way conversation is initiated with a translator at the contact center and an operator at the fire department.