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LUNA celebrates 20 years of language interpretations, translation services

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For 20 years in Indiana, LUNA Language Services has helped people who don’t speak English navigate the world around them.

Representatives said reaching this milestone in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic shows just how vital access to this service is.

When you walk into LUCA Language Services, you’re met with a message on the wall In part saying language access is what you need to live a full life. A representative said, in the last 20 years, LUNA grew from providing interpreting in one language to now 100, and the need will only grow with newcomers in Indiana from nearly every corner of the world.

“I love the fact that we can live here in central Indiana and have this great life here, that it offers a great, affordable life and yet you get this global experience now as well,” said founder Chris Waters. “I started doing freelance Spanish interpreting just to kind of keep myself busy, and saw a really big need with it.”

Two decades later, his wife, Marian Hadjioannou-Waters, and a team of supporters help continue the job.

“If you can imagine how difficult it is for people who speak and read English to get information, imagine now not speaking or reading English and trying to understand how to respond to the pandemic,” Hadjioannou-Waters said.

Roughly 150 languages are spoken in Indiana.

“Its hard to wrap our minds around the fact that there are so many languages and cultures all around us in Indiana and across the nation, but specifically here in Indianapolis,” Hadjioannou-Waters said.

Waters lauded the interpreters and translators’ efforts during the pandemic. “Really, they’ve been front-line workers these last two years. They’ve been in hospitals. They’ve been in distribution centers. They’ve been in court, and there was no break for a lot of these people, and not just enabling groups to get their information out to these communities, but there were still babies being born. There were still emergencies, court hearings.”