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

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?

Image title

Your subtitle here

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.

translation-collaboration

What We’ve Lost in Translation Project Collaboration

Sometimes the toughest part about human translation is developing the right strategy for Translation Project Collaboration with the translation team. Depending on the scope of the project, there are a lot of moving pieces and it can be tricky to keep things organized. But, how do you balance the use of technology to get the most from working with humans? I’m happy to tell you, there is a way.

The first time I tried translation project collaboration was in 1997 as a fresh college graduate. I worked for a government contractor in San Diego. My boss decided to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that was for the El Salvadoran government. They required one copy of the 100+ page proposal in English and one in Spanish. And we had a week to do it before the deadline.

At the time, tools like computer-aided translation, dropbox, google translate hadn’t been invented yet. I did know my way around Windows 95 and considered myself pretty advanced at the current version of Microsoft Word.

Since I had studied French and Italian in College, I was appointed to coordinate the team of about twelve native Spanish speakers that my boss arranged to do the actual translation.

I still remembered the day the team showed up and looked at me like “ok we’re here”. I felt very ill-equipped. In 1997, you couldn’t just google problems like you can now (maybe I could have searched AOL, but it didn’t even occur to me to do that).

I have to admit, it wasn’t an easy start. We had a couple of duplicate pages translated, hiccups on the formatting of tables and graphs, and a LOT of questions that I couldn’t answer. But sometimes when the stress piles on, you get a “eureka” moment! This happened to me. I suddenly had this flash of how to get organized!

I collected all the documents that the team was using and I printed ONE copy of the proposal.  Each linguist took a page out of the “outbox” I had created. They translated the page and saved the translated document on the central server (we did have at least a network back then, come on!). I would then integrate the translations into a master document and apply the same formatting as in English. At the end, I would be able to print the completed Spanish version and have a couple of proofreaders go through it to help with consistency.

Once we got organized, it became a lively process. We asked each other questions and debated language and meaning. As the resident native English speaker, I had to explain sometimes the intention of the source document. Sometimes I even made translation suggestions! Sadly, we didn’t win the bid. But it was certainly not due to our beautiful Spanish version of the proposal.

Twenty years later, translation project coordination is MUCH easier. We have powerful tools to aid in organizing, assigning and translating about any type of document. As an efficiency geek, I love how streamlined it is. Reducing stress increases the quality of the translation. In addition, translation can be done from a laptop from wherever and whenever. This opens doors for trained translators to have a flexible and fulfilling career; as well as making translation more available for people who historically may have been linguistically isolated.

But, I can’t help thinking that with all the powerful and innovative tools available, that something may have been lost. For years I have wanted to find a way to recreate that lively and collaborative process of having everyone in a room. This is why I created LinguistLink.

For years I have wanted to find a way to recreate that lively and collaborative process of having everyone in a room. This is why I created LinguistLink.

Although it’s no replacement for that face to face interaction, we’re using efficient technologies to enable communication for everyone involved in a project. Linguists can post questions and  discussions in a central discussion board. They can even ask the creators of the source with information. Project Managers and Requesters can track what is going on and keep things moving. Human beings have more value than just operating tools. Linguistlink is a space to bring that value to every project.

your-own-translation

What Can Translation Vendors Do that I Can’t?

If you are looking at translation vendors to help you connect with your non-English speaking clients, you may wonder if you can manage the projects yourself. I’m going to tell you something you won’t hear from too many translation providers. . .you can!

You may consider an in-house team if you frequently need to provide translated material for similar customers in a set group of languages. Like, if you always need documents translated into Spanish, Russian, and Chinese, you might benefit from your own process. When there are variable document types and language needs, that could bring extra head-aches. One of the benefits of using a vendor is you can focus on what you do best.

Pro’s and Con’s for Building an In-House Team

There are definitely pro’s and con’s to developing an internal language team. For example:

Pro’s Con’s
A dedicated team can build expertise in your content. You may not have the infrastructure to qualify linguists to ensure they are the right fit.
You can save some money on Project Management tasks. Building this service takes time away from your already busy job.
You can be assured that files are securely handled. Specialized translation database tools can be expensive and difficult to learn
You can manage the quality process. You may not have the expertise to manage the quality process.

Image title

Your subtitle here

Should I Support Translation In-House?

But for those of you who love DIY (Do-it-Yourself) tasks (I’m guilty of this!). You might consider if you’re really able to take on managing your translation workflow. If I haven’t convinced you, have you see these “pinterest fails”?

I’m always happier with the end result when I leave it to the professionals!

Fortunately, there are some options where you can get the best of both worlds. By partnering with Mindlink, you will have all the benefits of the professional agency while engaging with your own team. Let’s talk!

Cancel