If you want to prioritize interpreting services in your organization, a good place to start is assessing your language needs (i.e., collecting info on what languages your customers speak). Then, partner with a reputable language service provider. After that, it’s time to start advertising these services to your limited English proficient (LEP) customers.
If the word “advertising” made you do a double-take, keep reading.
In short, you just need to spread the word. You’ll want to let your LEP customers know you provide professional interpreters, and train your staff on how to access them. One of the most effective ways to do this is with usage materials.
But don’t worry — you won’t have to create your usage materials from nothing. Your language service provider will help. Providing customized, translated usage materials for accessibility and training purposes is an extension of what a great language service provider does.
And because not all organizations have the same needs regarding usage materials, we’ve laid out a few real-life examples below.
1. A pharmacy with 4,500+ locations needed to meet compliance requirements
Healthcare entities that accept federal funding must abide by certain nondiscrimination laws surrounding language access. Those laws require organizations to provide non-mainstream groups and individuals meaningful access to their services.
Part of meaningful access, in a lot of cases, is providing culturally appropriate communication through the use of a professional interpreter. Under some laws, organizations must also post notices translated in the entity’s top languages describing the availability of such language services.
This was the case for one of our pharmacy clients. In order to notify their customers that they provide free interpreting services, they needed our help customizing and sending materials to all 4,500+ locations across the country.
We worked with their marketing department to create and distribute language identification materials, language access displays, and instructions for their staff on how to use our interpreting services.
We then contacted every pharmacy location to confirm they received their usage materials and language access signage; ask if they had any questions about the service or general feedback; and identify trends in languages spoken by their customers.
As a bonus, we even tracked and reported LEP populations across cities and states they operated in.
2. A bank wanted to get the word out that they speak their customers’ language
One of our regional banking clients offers products and services catered to their diverse customer base. They’re also known for great customer service.
They wanted their community outreach efforts to reflect this, so we helped them create special branded signage to hang in the front entrances of all their branches letting the community know that they speak their language.
The signage stated: “We Speak Spanish; We Speak Korean; We Speak Gujarati” and so forth in their top languages, translated in-language for each phrase. This helps them notify their LEP customers that when they walk through the bank’s doors, they can count on receiving support in their native language alongside the exemplary customer service the bank was known for.
Bank staff — from tellers and loan officers to financial advisors and branch managers — were trained in accessing our telephone interpreters. Staff also had CLI’s language ID brochures on hand, which they could provide to customers with language identification assistance in the top 60 languages. This enabled their customers to easily self-identify their language simply by pointing.
3. A hospital that prioritized staff training and accessibility
One of our hospital systems operates in a region with a large refugee community, and needed to make sure that their LEP patients were aware of the availability of medical interpreting services. They also wanted to ensure their staff were prepared to support them.
For the hospital’s LEP patients and their families, we printed hundreds of language ID posters and counter easels. They posted the laminated posters on walls, and spread the countertop easels out across the hospital.
Both the posters and easels contained language identification assistance customized with the hospital’s top 26 languages. No matter where an LEP patient was, they would likely be in close proximity to one of these displays.
We also made “I speak” cards, customized with the hospital’s logo and information for their language services program that the patients could carry with them throughout their experience in the hospital.
For the hospital’s staff, we created two types of instructional materials: badges and stickers.
The plastic instruction badges were given to hospital staff to attach to their neck lanyards for easy, hands-free access. These badges included the phone number for the interpreting line, along with any other info the hospital requested.
We printed 8,000 waterproof instruction stickers that listed the interpreting phone number and the hospital’s reporting info. The hospital adhered these to telephones, equipment, binders, and more to make these instructions widely available.
Usage materials can help push your language access program forward
It’s essential to partner with a language service provider that wants to work with you to tailor your usage materials in a way that will best serve your LEP customers and staff.
At the end of the day, that’s what this pharmacy, bank, and hospital did. And they were able to support their LEP customers, increase staff efficiency, and provide greater levels of compliance through some well-placed paper and ink.
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