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

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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