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 😀

 

 

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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medical-interpreter

Language Access in Health Care Creates Cultural Competence

I had the privilege this week of sitting down with some nursing students to talk about one of my favorite subjects, Language Access for health care! In the interview below, I discussed the meeting with my colleague, Jana Bitton, who is the Executive Director at Oregon Center for Nursing.

Here are a few of the things we discussed:

What are some challenges when providing language access?

As we spoke, Bitton observed that, in her experience, nurses are pretty good about using interpreters appropriately. Occasionally, a nurse may grab someone who is bi-lingual to provide interpretation for patients, not necessarily someone trained in medical translation for convenience.

There is also issues with cost, technology, and efficiency. All of these can be overcome, but are the right incentives in place?

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Do we need legislation?

Some are looking at adding legislation to make sure health systems are complying with providing translation and interpretation services.  Bitton likes the idea. She said that sometimes you do need to legislate things because there is not another reason to change behavior. However, there are some incentives built into current health care reforms in the form of a positive patient experience. The better the experience, the more funds that come to the organization. The relates directly to providing treatment and communication in the native languages of patients.

I adore about nurses. They are the people at the front line of the health care fight. They are seeing all levels of society and where the problems are. They are identifying any issues they see. Nurse-led effort to improve communication with patients is really important.

What are some current ideas that are working/not working?

There have been some efforts made to improve culturally competent discharge procedures. When discharging, you need to sit down and make sure they understand what just happened to them and what is the follow up.

In the interview, we heard about Providence Hood River Medical Center who recently realized that there were not a lot of cultural competence in place considering language, etc. They revamped the discharge procedure and made sure they had an interpreter there to ensure.

What do you think?

Do you have any thoughts about more challenges for providing language access in health care? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Listen to our Discussion Here:

interpretation

The Nuclear Summit and the Importance of a Trained Interpreter

The news media has recently taken particular focus on the coverage of the Trump and Kim nuclear summit of June 11, 2018. As a recent TIMES report mentions, a solid trained interpreter feels the pressure of achieving a successful meeting  of the country leaders for which they interpret.

The Times report quotes Jenna Gibson, Director of Communications at the Korea Economic Institute of America, saying, “There are very nuanced differences between words and between levels of formality in Korean.” She adds, “I don’t envy the translators at the summit, because they are going to have to make split-second decisions.”

In extreme scenarios, the interpreters’ choice of words have the power to make the difference between world peace and world war. Of course, interpreters of this caliber are highly trained in transparency and are capable of clarifying their message, should it be required.

But this brings about an important point: for any event to be successful, the interpreter must be in sync with the speaker. They must have expert knowledge on the topic being discussed. They must have a solid contextual understanding of the perception of the topic between the parties involved. This is why professional trained interpreters are so important!

Additionally, the must have nimble social skills to learn and adapt to the speakers intonation and speaking pattern in order to fully render the meaning of the speaker’s message. In other words, the interpreter must know not only the meaning behind the words spoken, but also the meaning behind how they are spoken. For example, did the speaker’s hesitant “No” mean, “No, I didn’t understand and I’m saying no because it’s a yes/no question..”, or “No, I don’t want to”. 

Often times, finding a good interpreter for your event is difficult. Most organizations don’t have the resources to learn to screen, hire, and manage an interpreter, let alone organize all the interpreter needs. That’s where language agencies come in.

A language company who has their client’s concerns in mind will support their client throughout their planning phases of the event where they’ll be using the interpreting service. Besides seeking out to fill the interpreter requests, the customer focused language company will want to be part of the planning team. It will request as much information about the event to be discussed. From general topic information, to the powerpoint presentation or speech of the speakers–the language agency will want to see it all.

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