remote-working

Tips for Remote Working with Limited English Proficient Clients

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Remote Working with Limited English Proficient Clients can be frustrating if you aren’t used to it. During the COVID-19 quarantine, a lot of us are learning new ways to do things. We want to help as much as possible. So we’re creating some informational posts to share resources that are available.

You may find yourself working with clients remotely who may not speak English fluently. Doing this remotely might be tricky, but if done well, you can provide equitable access regardless of where you are.

Here are five important things to keep in mind for remote working with limited English proficient clients.

  • Rely on written communication when possible.

    If you have ever spoken another language, the phone is one of the most challenging in ensuring understanding. A simple email or text might be a better way to get a message across.

    Have a longer message? You can get it translated easily by our team of professional translators. Make sure your communication is equitable ensuring everyone has the opportunity to understand.

  • Use already translated resources

    There are many resources available already that have been translated. Please make these available to your clients.

  • Beware of mistranslations and google translate.

    Inclusive and meaningful access requires quality translation. Many times using google translation is worse than not doing any translation at all.

  • Use telephonic interpreters.

    You could struggle to communicate with a mix of broken languages. OR, you could conference in an interpreter to help you. Use zoom meetings or three-way calling to patch someone in.

    If you need an interpreter, we support most languages. Sign up for “LinguistLink” and get immediate access.

  • Practice Patience.

    We’re all learning this right now. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

    “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
    ― J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

translated-resources

Translated Resources for COVID-19

For speakers with limited English ability, it’s important to provide translated resources for COVID-19 in the native language spoken by the people you support. This virus is no joke. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. The best way to combat fear is to communicate, communicate, communicate. With that said, there is still a lot of misinformation going around. So what can you do to make sure everyone in the community gets the message?

Fortunately, there are a few existing translated resources for COVID-19 out there that you can share in some of the primary languages spoken in the United States. Languages such the following:

The following are other resources that might be helpful (Most of these are from Washington State (where I live!) but it applies to anyone anywhere.

COVID-19 Educational Materials (WA State Dept of Health) With flyers on basic information about the virus.

Public Health Recommendations This link includes recommendations that will help people understand what we can do to avoid getting it.

Multilingual Resources for Schools. This link provides resources that are kid-sized to share with students and family members. It’s only in Chinese and Spanish.

If you can’t find what you need from existing material, we have a special offer that will help:


If you can’t find information in a specific language, or if you have more specifics to communicate, we can help. We’re currently offering 20% off of any COVID-19 related translation.

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Spreading good information and banding together will help us get through this crisis. We realize how small our world is and it is up to all of us to help! This will pass, but what remains is how we acted. Simply by sharing access to translated resources that pass along scientific information about COVID-19 will make a difference to a lot of people!

small-business-saturday

Thanks for Supporting Our Small Business

We generally think of our local retail shops and artisans when we support our small business. But as a small business who provides services to clients, we benefit in the same way when you support us!

Every time you order translation, interpretation, or subscribe to our database linguistlink.net, allows us the opportunity to provide jobs for our professional contractors and linguists. It also helps us to serve families throughout our communities who may be underrepresented because they have limited English proficiency.

You may think its a small thing, but it isn’t. Every brochure, sign, website, form, etc. that has been carefully translated by a human means a lot. Every family who is able to communicate with their student’s school in their language feels supported and included. And, every patient who has access to an interpreter, either live or over the phone, benefits from increased care and wellness.

The whole thing starts with you. So, it really means a lot to us when you reach out for help.

Thank you.

And remember to still do your shopping with small businesses too 😀

 

 

diversity-equity

Take the Lead by Implementing Diversity Equity with Language Access

This is a great time of year to develop a language access strategy for how to provide diversity equity and inclusion for the coming year. Too often, organizations are caught unprepared when a need arises for services from a person who has limited English abilities. Whether you work for a government agency, medical office, or non-profit, enabling meaningful access to your services in the language spoken by your clients, patients, etc. is a great way to create an inclusive environment.

Diversity equity and inclusion in the workplace is a big trend right now. Training staff and creating policies can be effective. But, like anything, there can be a gap between what a group wants to do and what they actually do. Having a concrete strategy and plan can fill that gap.

If you’re like me, there is something about the word “strategy” that is always a good idea that no one has time for. What I ask myself is. . .in regards to diversity equity, what time can be invested up front that will save me down the road? Honestly, I’m okay if your strategy is scribbled on the back of a napkin. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But you’ll find that just taking some time to put your mind on something can help you create guiding principals that will inform decisions.

The following lists some ideas on how you might get started:

1. Identify Gaps

What are some things you’ve been meaning to do when it comes to diversity? Have you had any occasion in the past year where you failed at providing meaningful access for your service to a client due to the language barrier? If you have a system for providing language access, do your clients know about it? Do they know how to access the help? How can I provide more culturally-sensitive services? What are my obligations?

2. Design an outreach strategy

If you have a system for providing language access, do your clients know about it? Do they know how to access the help? How can you provide more culturally-sensitive services? What are your obligations? What languages are commonly requested?

3. Identify documents for translation

Are all intake documents that allow for access to services translated in the common languages? Is there a plan to provide an interpreter to review documentation for languages of lesser diffusion (or more rarely requested languages)? Do you have relationships with professional translators or agencies who can provide translation as requested? (We can help with this one!)

4. Implement process for scheduling qualified interpreters

Do you have agreements with professional interpreters or agencies? Know their policies (i.e. costs, minimums) before you start so cost isn’t a barrier. Do you partner with a phone number to connect you to Language Access? (We got your back on this one too!)

5. Celebrate diversity

Once you have a strategy in place, you can enjoy the benefits of working with people from other cultures who can bring their experience to make your organization better!

 

You’re not alone! Call us and we can help you set up your strategy for the year!

Language Access Audit

January Updates

I know it’s technically February, but, you’re getting the January updates anyway. 🙂 January was a busy month! Here are a couple of updates:

Did you check out the new website?

We’ve been updating our website and marketing efforts to better serve our clients. What do you think? We took the main image last summer on our trip to Paris 🙂 Stay tuned for more updates as we are focusing more on consulting and training going forward.

LinguistLink is ready for reporting time!

Submit your time directly in LingusitLink at the end of your assignment. Follow these steps:

  1. Open “Project Item”
  2. Enter “Actual Hours”
  3. Mark as Complete
  4. Your Scheduler will review/approve the hours
  5. You can check back and view any status updates

For now, please submit your invoice in addition to submitting the time to the scheduler (for mindlink projects, please send as an email attachment to “invoice@mindlinkresources.com”).

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Got a Question about Your Payment?

If you want to check on the status of your invoice, the best way to do it is to complete the following form.

community-engagement

What does Community Engagement Mean for Education?

Can you have community engagement without a clear idea on who the people are in your community? Despite good efforts, I’ve recently read about examples in the news where community members were excluded due to cultural or language access limitations. Read these examples and tell me. . .what went wrong?

Example #1: Teacher’s Strike in Los Angeles, CA

I heard a program on NPR about the recent teacher strike in Los Angeles. A Spanish-speaking father went to drop his son off at school, but there was no school. The district sent communication out, but it was not in Spanish. The father had no idea there was a strike going on. Once he got to the school, he realized quickly he was going to have to scramble for child care.

Although the student’s needs are being considered in the school district, in this case the family’s needs were not. I wonder if this father really feels like he is a part of the school community?

How can a school improve community engagement by proactively helping non-English speaking families take part in a meaningful way?

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Example #2: Measles Outbreak in Clark County, WA

My county is in the news recently, but not in a good way. There is a measles outbreak–more than 40 people have contracted this awful condition, which is completely avoidable with modern vaccinations. The public reaction has been very harsh. Even I found myself judging people saying things like “these anti-vaccination believers are crazy and causing all kinds of public health issues!”.

But then I read that the outbreak began in a local Slovak church. Clark County has a strong immigrant community. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, 15% of the county speaks a language other than English at home. The church where the outbreak may have started does not teach that vaccinations are harmful; however, some immigrants and refuges are distrustful and choose not to get them. Per the article:

. . .some parents mistrust the vaccines. The mistrust may be a holdover from time spent living in the former Soviet Union.

That last thought made me much more sympathetic. Instead of meeting these people where they are, we write them off as “crazy anti-vaccinators”. Maybe we should be asking ourselves how we can provide better education and resources for people who are originally from other cultures?

What Lessons Can We Derive from these Examples to Improve Community Engagement?

  1. Immigrants/Refuges are part of our community.
  2. Limited-English speakers aren’t getting the same information as the native English speakers.
  3. An increased effort from educational and public organizations to provide meaningful access to information will benefit the whole community.
  4. Inclusion means providing information as well as listening to community members who have limited-English speaking abilities.
  5. There are support and tools to help you do this!

The good news is–we can help. By sitting down with one of our Coordinators, we can design a solution that will meet the needs of everyone in your community. Whether you need an interpreter at a town hall, access to translators, or building an informational website — we can help! Contact us today.

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