Thursday, October 26, 2017

Why You Need an Interpretation Service Provider Although You Have Bilingual Staff

Ethnically diverse Call Center Representatives
You have a growing customer service business, initially starting with 10 CSRs (Customer Service Representatives) and soon expanding to 50. Your business is great and volume is increasing.

Your agents start coming to you indicating they are getting calls from people who do not speak English. The agents try yelling and speaking slowly but they are not able to communicate. You need to act quickly because now, the buzz throughout the non-English speaking community is that your service is terrible and lacks language services.

Your reaction should be to immediately enter hire mode. You decide to hire Spanish-speaking Bilingual representatives. Good job, you are now ready to move forward and tackle the next stages of your business growth.

Next month when you pull your call center metrics, you notice longer than normal hold times for your customers, and an unusual number of abandoned calls. You talk with your Call Center Manager and find out the source of the problems.
  • Spanish-speaking customers are on the line, waiting for a Spanish-speaking agent to become available
  • Spanish was not the only language needed
  • Customers are hanging up due to the long hold times
  • Calls do not just come in during business hours when the bilingual agents are scheduled
  • One of the agents does not speak English well
  • One of the agents claimed to speak Spanish but it was only 3 years of high school Spanish

Your solution?

Use a language service provider, because a great one can solve all of your multi-language challenges.
  • They can handle all of your non-English calls
  • They provide backup when your staff is busy on calls
  • They offer 200+ languages when needed
  • 24/7/365 availability is the standard
  • They have subject matter experts that know the terminology of your business
  • They meet 99.9% of their SLAs
A great language service provider enables you to focus on your business and delivers the high-quality service your customers have come to expect, regardless of what language they speak.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Breaking the Safety Training Language Barrier #SafetyTraining

A great article on workplace safety from L&D Daily Advisor.

"Many organizations have employees for whom English may not be their first language, and it’s important that these language barriers are overcome during safety training.

In addition to problems with speaking English, some employees may not read well either. Even in their own language, there is a chance that some workers may be illiterate or only able to read a little.Increased diversity in the workplace may create language and literacy barriers. When workers don’t speak English or have limited proficiency, they cannot communicate effectively with supervisors, coworkers, or customers. They may also have difficulty comprehending the requirements of their jobs.

Without proper action on the part of management, language and literacy barriers can make it difficult or impossible for some employees to function effectively and safely in the workplace. These barriers can also make interaction and teamwork among workers more difficult and less efficient.

This means training issues take on even greater significance when the topic is safety."

Read More

Friday, October 20, 2017

Translate Safety Standards for Limited English Speaking Employees

Successful businesses know that preparation and training are imperative when it comes to protecting your workers and compliance with the law. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted research that identifies migrant workers as a particularly vulnerable group of workers. They concluded that:
  • Migrant workers’ knowledge of health and safety standards can be limited;
  • HSE is virtually unheard of among migrant workers;
  • The understandable desire by migrant workers to work hard and to stay out of trouble can lead to employers cutting corners on health and safety without being questioned.

Inadequate Communication

Naturally, incidents occur due to a wide variety of factors. However, a risk-enhancing factor with migrant workers is inadequate communication, such as limited understanding of spoken or written English, or poor comprehension of signs or signals.

Therefore, when looking at training, as well as policies and procedures, it is imperative that that you consider that your workers:
  • May not understand health and safety training/instructions given;
  • May misunderstand critical safety communications or hand signals from work colleagues, or be unable to use them to warn others in an emergency;
  • May not be able to communicate effectively with supervisors;
  • May not understand each other, even if they come from the same region of the world or are from similar ethnic groups.
OSHA requires employers to provide safety training and protection in an employee's native language. If an employee does not speak or comprehend English, instruction must be provided in a language the employee can understand. Many industries with employees who work with hazardous chemicals, such as the janitorial industry, hire large numbers of employees with limited English language skills. Yet understanding and following product instructions is not only necessary to do these jobs well, but is critical to working safely with
hazardous chemicals. Dangerous fumes created from improperly combining reactive chemicals can not only harm the worker, but also the occupants of the buildings they maintain.

Without a good understanding of English, it is difficult to read warning labels and Material Safety Data Sheets. Workers may again lack the language skills necessary to ask questions and report problems to their supervisors.

Legal Issues 

Language barriers also need to be considered from a legal perspective. Some courts have found language discrimination to be equal to discrimination based on race or national origin. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, an employer may not deny an employment opportunity because the applicant is not proficient or fluent in English, unless the job actually requires some English language skills, and the person does not possess the particular type and level of English language skill required to do the job.

Companies across all industries should understand that language barriers will continue to grow. Continued effort needs to be publicized to businesses of all sizes that translation resources, such as eLearning training translated by translation companies, are available.

Coordinated efforts with community leaders, government, educational institutions, trade associations, and labor unions are imperative so companies can fulfill their own economic needs and make sure they send their employees home safely each night.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Still Using the Same Old LSP for Your Call Center?

Man jumping with green letter "p" for Pros, woman smiling with letter "c" for Cons.

So you've decided to list the pros and cons of sticking with the same Language Service Provider (LSP) for your call center.

It's not a pretty topic, but as you know, when things go wrong in the call center, it's bad for the brand, for you, and for everyone else who calls expecting superior services.

As an LSP customer, you should occasionally shop around and research other vendors. The pace of development and technology is different than it was even 5 years ago. Some Language Service Providers have grown, some have been bought out, and some have misunderstood your value as a client and partner.

So here you go, a couple pros vs. cons with tools to ensure your current, or potentially new, LSP is a fit for your quality and response-time metrics.

Pro - You know and understand the relationship.

The service appears to work when needed and you know how and when to expect the bill.

Con - You don't know what you don't know. 

Without a comparison or a benchmark, it is hard to discern performance issues or missed opportunities when you have been using the same workflow and processes. Customer service, its approach, and resolution techniques are changing as fast as technology development. You should have an expectation in customer-resolution and answer metrics. For example, a 99% customer resolution streak and accessing a Spanish interpreter within 19 seconds should now be your standard.

Pro - You love their cheap per-minute rate. 

You’re using a low-price interpretation service because it keeps the fees low and since you don’t speak the second language, you are unaware of any problems that may exist.

Con - You're not figuring in the total cost of cheap interpretation.

You pay a low price but may incur high costs if the interpretation service your customers receive is of substandard quality. Which, over time, will cause measurable impact and damage to your customer’s engagement and credibility of your company. You can lower your overall costs by using an LSP that consistently delivers a measurable quality in service.

It's important to understand that your LSP choice has a direct impact on your risk management. When you decide to review other LSPs, here are additional questions you should be asking:

  • “Tell me about your recruitment efforts for potential projects.”
  • What’s the process you go through to staff assignments?”
  • How will my calls impact your total call capacity?
  • What is your implementation process for new accounts?
  • “How quickly can you implement?”
These questions are an excellent indicator of the quality you can expect from the LSP.

Finally, hiring an LSP is like any other service. Ask for references that are applicable to your business, e.g. financial services, medical, or legal.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Helping Healthcare Facilities Quickly Resolve ACA Requirements

Our goal at CTS LanguageLink is to educate entities such as yours on how and why you should be using multilingual services from a reputable language service provider.

Are you up-to-date on the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557?

It addresses meaningful access for individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

"The Section 1557 final rule applies to any health program or activity, any part of which receives funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), such as hospitals that accept Medicare or doctors who receive Medicaid payments; the Health Insurance Marketplaces and issuers that participate in those Marketplaces; and any health program that HHS itself administers."

Healthcare entities need multilingual services to support the ACA's accessibility requirements. Solving communication dilemmas caused by language barriers should not be handled by untrained individuals.

The following people should not serve as healthcare interpreters: patient's family or friends, children under 18 years old, other patients or visitors, or untrained volunteers.

While these individuals may be proficient in both the source and target languages needed in the interpretation session, they may not be able to separate the gravity of the information to be communicated from the feelings they may have for the patient. They are typically not trained in the profession, which can lead to poor patient care, missed information and details, or in extreme cases, even death. 

As a healthcare facility, it is vital to provide appropriate communication techniques that comply with the law and provide your LEP patients the best care possible.

Finally, having language interpretation materials on display and readily accessible to your office employees assists engagement with patients/clients/customers. Displaying language interpretation content and information in your patient's/client's/customer's language, presents a setting in their terms that overwhelmingly improves the relationship and communicates a path to success.

You know healthcare, we know languages. Learn more about how we can better assist you.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

7 Reasons Schools Partner with Language Service Providers

You are a Kindergarten teacher getting ready to start another year of the hardest and most fulfilling job anyone has on the face of the earth. You have been teaching Kindergarten for more than 15 years and can instantly adjust for the shy kids, the crazy kids, the attention-starved kids, the smart kids, and the kids who need extra help. Are you ready for the kids that do not speak English? Are you ready to work and talk with their parents?

Now, it is freshman orientation and a room full of parents and future students are crammed into the hot gym to listen to the principal, counselors, and senior student body talk about how great freshman year is going to be. You have this amazing presentation to excite the kids, alleviate parent concerns and make sure the kids know where to go on their first day. The faculty is pumped and just as nervous as the freshman for school to start. You walk out onto the gym floor with your slide show loaded, ready to start the year off with a bang. Looking around the room you are excited at the diversity of the various ethnic backgrounds. Will they be able to understand your English-only presentation?

Here are 7 reasons you should work with a language services provider for communication with parents and students who do not speak English fluently.

1. Legal Requirements

Any communication of information about programs, services or activities, provided by the school to English-speaking parents, must also be presented in a language that can be understood by parents with limited English proficiency.

“Where the inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students."

2. Immediate Access

All great language service providers are able to connect you to a phone interpreter in 30 seconds or less. We know schools move fast and accidents occur at any moment, so timing and access should never be compromised. This requires access 24x7x365, which allows you to cover sporting events, after-school activities, and teachers who work tirelessly into the evening.

3. Language Availability

An individual school or district is rarely able to cover all languages on their own. Even the top eleven most commonly reported languages (according to the US Dept. of Education) is an exciting list of diverse languages. Often, schools struggle to service languages of lesser diffusion, such as Hmong, Arabic, Tagalog, or Haitian Creole. Knowing your student body’s language demography is important, so you can effectively review a potential language service provider’s list of supported languages.
Table 1. Eleven most commonly reported home languages of English language learner (ELL) students: School year 2014–15

4. Pay as You Go

Budgets are mulled over across districts and schools. One of the great advantages of Over-the-Phone interpretation (OPI) services is that you are only charged for the services you use. Also, many language service providers have usage portals and should be able to separate the invoice by departments/schools in the district for billing purposes. You can leverage the usage information from the portal to assist in budget allocation for the next quarter, and then roll it up for end-of-year totals.

5. Prevent Miscommunication

Some schools suggest enlisting “older” children to interpret. You can understand how unprofessional this decision is. Since it’s also illegal, it can pose a huge legal risk to the school and its administration.

Using qualified interpreters ensures professionalism is maintained, providing unbiased communication between the school and non-English speaking students and parents.
Batman pun for batmobile

6. Student Success

Reaching out to parents in their native language will not only generate their support, but will likely increase academic achievement. For example, in certain families, field trips to the zoo are seen as an extravagance and not a necessity. When teachers or school officials send home (translated) permission slips, it may help to include a flyer that explains the inherent value of the trip, translated into the language of the family.
Smiling young Asian boy in baseball hat holding school project

7. Trusted Partnership  

Language Services Providers work with the schools to provide services that make sense. CTS LanguageLink knows that education is not only YOUR job, but it’s also OURS! You are encouraged to create your own program and we will use our 25+ years of experience to work with you to augment your program with proven, time-tested services.

Fast forward to today, the valedictorian, unable to speak English when starting Kindergarten and now graduating with straight As, is preparing to give the speech of a lifetime. His or Her entire family is there to watch and listen to the speech. But you have no worries about any of the non-English speaking family members attending. You are prepared. You have secured CTS LanguageLink’s services, and you are confident that all will be able to understand the speech in their native language.

Schools can take advantage of NASPO contract prices, for over-the-phone interpretation by signing up.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

How to create Translation-Ready Materials

Your time and cost can be saved by creating documents that are developed with translation in mind – from the beginning. Minor issues in small files like instructions manuals or catalogs can quickly become time consuming and require hours of formatting before translation can even begin. Consider how your catalogs, manuals, or documents are assembled. There are several areas where a file and its content can be optimized for translation.

1. Table of Contents
A correctly set up table of contents will be automatically recreated in the translated version, potentially saving hours of costly and manual post-translation formatting work. Keep this in mind, your goal is to minimize the need for desktop publishing. Please note, that languages grow and/or shrink as they are translated.

2. Non-editable elements
Do you have headings in your file? Are these editable text, or converted to outline text (stylized)? A common detail of design agency-created content is outline text headings, which need to be manually recreated in order to edit the text. It is advisable to avoid using outline text unless your goal is to prevent the text from being edited.

The 'f.y.i.' and company logo graphics are examples of non-editable elements
You can used outline text effectively for any content which should not be localized, such as product names, company divisions or industry-specific regulation names.

3. Graphics

Text in graphics is another common feature in many types of documents. Whenever possible, avoid the use of text in graphics and choose editable keys instead. Again this is because translated text grows and/or shrinks. If your graphic does fit the new translation, your layout and graphic could appear skewed. This includes numbers in the image, and text under graphics.

Also, plan for what you don’t want to translate, as well as what you do. Placing all non-translatable content in a separate InDesign layer, for example, ensures that requirements are clear and saves on manual preparation time. Your InDesign layer, the one with non-translatable content, can simply be hidden. With your content hidden, the translation team will focus on everything else, text, layout, and formatting.

Our translation team fields best practice questions regularly, we are happy to answer any of yours, feel free to give us a call.