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.