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How Health Care Professionals Can Better Serve LEP Patients and Families

First impressions are key with all patients. And ensuring adequate language access for your Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients can make a huge difference for your practice, both in patient safety and satisfaction. Your patients are more likely to receive improved quality in health care with fewer medical errors if they have access to the information they need in the language of their choice. This leads to a higher rate of patient satisfaction, and the individual is more likely to return to your practice/facility, if necessary, as long as they feel confident in the quality of care they received the first time.

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Outside of just having access to the translated versions of key documents and medical interpreters for your patients, here are a few ways to better serve your LEP community and patients.

Make sure your LEP community knows language access is available

Many LEP individuals may not even realize that they can receive care in their own language at your practice. This can result in a lack of preventative care, increasing their reliance on emergency room visits when issues become more serious. This actually increases costs to the health care system, which could be alleviated by helping to inform your local LEP community that they can receive more basic or preventative care, even if they do not speak English. You can work with your public relations or marketing team to find ways to communicate this information to local groups. Social media channels, television appearances, direct mailers, or newspaper advertisements may be good places to start.

Translate discharge and prescription instructions

Part of the reason that LEP patients have a greater chance of admission (or readmission) to the hospital after seeking care is that they do not fully understand their discharge instructions or how to properly take their medications. Having a professional interpreter present during admission and discharge, as well as having any at-home instructions translated into the patient’s preferred language, can result in a lower chance of patient confusion when they return home, lessening the need for the patient to return to your office or visit the ER later if their condition is not improving. It is also important not to assume that a pharmacy has instructions for all prescriptions in various languages.  If you are in doubt of a patient’s understanding, you can always use the “teach back” method to have the patient confirm what is expected of them when they leave. 

Provide training for your physicians and staff to improve language access for LEP patients

You do not need a multilingual staff to be able to interact with your LEP patients. If your staff is trained to recognize cultural sensitivities and differences, as well as key indicators that your patients may need a professional medical interpreter, you can better serve your patients well when they come in for their appointments. Some patients will not request an interpreter, either because they do not know they can do so at no cost, or because they overestimate their English competency. Having a professional interpreter present or an over-the-phone interpreter available can help eliminate any language-specific issues that may arise during the visit.

If your practice has put anything in place that has helped deliver better care for your LEP patients, we’d love to hear more about it! Please let us know by leaving a comment!

Why Hiring a Professional Translator or Interpreter Will Yield Higher Profits for Your Real Estate Business

Beginning a new translation project or finding a trusted interpreter for your law firm can be a daunting task. However, both can be key to your firm’s success with a given case or client. You may also be looking at your budget, wondering how translation and interpreting will fit into it and why it is worth spending the money to hire a professional. When looking to make every dollar count, it is important to know what you are receiving when you have your documents, brochures, website, etc. translated. Below is a brief list of what you can expect to get for your money, other than a good quality translation or interpreter.

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1. A growing client base. Having your documents translated gives your law firm the potential to reach a whole new group of clients. Clients who are not native speakers of English are more likely to engage with you as their lawyer if there is material available in their primary language. It is more comfortable for this individual, and as a result, this person feels at ease with your firm, knowing you are making the effort to reach them directly. These clients could easily turn into raving fans based on your help, recommending you to their friends and family.

2. A smoother client experience. When you have certain information translated your clients’ language and can offer an interpreter during meetings, these individuals will have a much easier time understanding the process. This results in fewer conversations and less time spent explaining next steps (or having an interpreter explain next steps if you do not personally speak their language). Every interaction is a cost to your law firm, especially if you have requested an interpreter be present during your meetings, so reducing these interactions with well-written, translated documents could help you avoid unnecessary costs.

3. Happier, loyal clients and rave reviews. If your materials are translated well and your client has an easy time working with you (and/or your interpreter), he or she will remember the experience and will likely call on you (and recommend you!) again.

4. Increased profits year over year (YOY). The initial investment of translating your materials or working with an interpreter may seem costly to some at first. However, the potential for generating a new client base, along with happier, loyal clients you’ve been able to reach will allow you to turn a profit at your firm in the long run. You should be able to see the great return on investment (ROI) in your YOY profits.

Translation and interpreting are fantastic tools for reaching new markets and building a loyal client base. When considering the ROI for translation and interpreting services, be sure to think mid- to long-term for your firm. Although you may not see a profit right away, the investment is well worth the numbers you will see over the years to come as your client base continues to grow and expand, earning your firm more profit all the while.

Four Reasons Hiring a Professional Will Grow Your Law Firm’s Client Base

Beginning a new translation project or finding a trusted interpreter for your law firm can be a daunting task. However, both can be key to your firm’s success with a given case or client. You may also be looking at your budget, wondering how translation and interpreting will fit into it and why it is worth spending the money to hire a professional. When looking to make every dollar count, it is important to know what you are receiving when you have your documents, brochures, website, etc. translated. Below is a brief list of what you can expect to get for your money, other than a good quality translation or interpreter.

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1. A growing client base. Having your documents translated gives your law firm the potential to reach a whole new group of clients. Clients who are not native speakers of English are more likely to engage with you as their lawyer if there is material available in their primary language. It is more comfortable for this individual, and as a result, this person feels at ease with your firm, knowing you are making the effort to reach them directly. These clients could easily turn into raving fans based on your help, recommending you to their friends and family.

2. A smoother client experience. When you have certain information translated your clients’ language and can offer an interpreter during meetings, these individuals will have a much easier time understanding the process. This results in fewer conversations and less time spent explaining next steps (or having an interpreter explain next steps if you do not personally speak their language). Every interaction is a cost to your law firm, especially if you have requested an interpreter be present during your meetings, so reducing these interactions with well-written, translated documents could help you avoid unnecessary costs.

3. Happier, loyal clients and rave reviews. If your materials are translated well and your client has an easy time working with you (and/or your interpreter), he or she will remember the experience and will likely call on you (and recommend you!) again.

4. Increased profits year over year (YOY). The initial investment of translating your materials or working with an interpreter may seem costly to some at first. However, the potential for generating a new client base, along with happier, loyal clients you’ve been able to reach will allow you to turn a profit at your firm in the long run. You should be able to see the great return on investment (ROI) in your YOY profits.

Translation and interpreting are fantastic tools for reaching new markets and building a loyal client base. When considering the ROI for translation and interpreting services, be sure to think mid- to long-term for your firm. Although you may not see a profit right away, the investment is well worth the numbers you will see over the years to come as your client base continues to grow and expand, earning your firm more profit all the while.

On-Site or Remote Interpreting: Which is the Best Fit for Your Real Estate Business

If your real estate business has been marketing to or attracting speakers of another language, you’ve likely wondered what your best options would be for the most seamless communication method. Communicating with your potential buyers via a professional interpreter is a great way to break an existing communication barrier. Here are some options if you are in need of oral interpretation. Remember, you may decide that you need to choose more than one option to fit your interactions with these buyers.

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On-Site Interpretation. This type of service offering is probably the most commonly sought in our industry. Interpreters are hired to perform this service in person at the time of an arranged appointment or meeting where an LEP (Limited English Proficient) individual or group of people is present and requires an interpreter. Once the interpreter arrives and meets the LEP individual, she will explain to all those involved that she will interpret everything that is said during the meeting.

Telephonic Interpreting. Another very effective form of interpreting, telephonic interpreters are hired when your agency may not need an interpreter on-site or when certain languages are required that are rarely spoken in a geographic area, among other reasons. You may need telephonic interpreting for short, simple communications and quick interactions like scheduling a future appointment or noting information for a later meeting.

Video Remote Interpreting. Another type of remote interpreting, video remote interpreting (VRI) is often used for sign language interactions, as telephonic services would not be effective. It is also becoming more effective in other language pairs. You will need to have video conferencing equipment, or at the very least, a webcam, speakers and a microphone. You and the LEP individual will be able to see the interpreter and she will listen to you through a headset.

Have you used an interpreter before? If so, what interpreting methods have worked well for you? Which would you like to see utilized within your real estate business if you do not already have one of these services available? Let us know!

On-Site or Remote Interpreting: Which is the Best Fit for Your Law Firm?

If your law firm has been marketing to or attracting speakers of another language, you’ve likely wondered what your best options would be for the most seamless communication method. Communicating with your clients via a professional legal interpreter is a great way to break an existing communication barrier. Here are some options if you are in need of oral interpretation. Remember, you may decide that you need to choose more than one option to fit your interactions with these clients.

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On-Site Interpretation. This type of service offering is probably the most commonly sought in our industry. Interpreters are hired to perform this service in person at the time of an arranged appointment or meeting where an LEP (Limited English Proficient) individual or group of people is present and requires an interpreter. Once the interpreter arrives and meets the LEP individual, she will explain to all those involved that she will interpret everything that is said during the meeting.

Telephonic Interpreting. Another very effective form of interpreting, telephonic interpreters are hired when your law firm may not need an interpreter on-site or when certain languages are required that are rarely spoken in a geographic area, among other reasons. You may need telephonic interpreting for short, simple communications and quick interactions like scheduling a future appointment or noting information for a later meeting.

Video Remote Interpreting. Another type of remote interpreting, video remote interpreting (VRI) is often used for sign language interactions, as telephonic services would not be effective. It is also becoming more popular in other language pairs. You will need to have video conferencing equipment, or at the very least, a webcam, speakers and a microphone. You and the LEP individual will be able to see the interpreter and she will listen to you through a headset.

Have you used an interpreter before? If so, what interpreting methods have worked well for you? Which would you like to see utilized within your law firm if you do not already have one of these services available? Let us know!

3 Do’s (and 3 Don’ts) for Working with a Legal Interpreter

As an attorney or paralegal, you may sometimes need the assistance of an interpreter to help facilitate communication between yourself and a client who may speak very little English, or none at all. As clear communication between parties is essential, we’ve compiled a list of our top do’s and don’ts when working with a legal interpreter.

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DO:

· prepare the interpreter (when possible). If you are able to meet with the interpreter in advance (preferred), provide him or her with any relevant information so he or she is able to better prepare for the meeting. Most languages will have multiple acceptable translations for various terms, and if one of these terms comes up in your client meeting, having the case’s context in advance will help the interpreter make the right choice. If you are able to provide reports, transcripts or other materials from your case, this will help your interpreter prepare.

· choose an appropriately specialized interpreter. Legal interpreters are highly skilled for various legal situations, however not all interpreters who handle cases like medical malpractice suits will be as comfortable interpreting for mediation between two business partners in the event of a dispute. This is yet another reason that providing context and information beforehand is key.

· speak slowly, clearly, in relatively short sentences, and in turn. Doing so will help ensure the interpreter does not miss anything you’ve said. Remember, interpreters are listening to everything you’re saying, and they need the chance to say render the message in another language. Speaking for too long at once without stopping can create the risk of something getting quite literally lost in translation. So keep sentences reasonably short, and allow the interpreter and client to finish speaking before moving on.

DON’T

· expect an interpreter to be an attorney. Interpreters ethically cannot go over documents with your client alone, nor can they help explain legal concepts. They are only there to interpret what is said. If you ask an interpreter to sight translate a document for your client, be sure that you are present for this in case of any questions.

· ask an interpreter not to interpret something. An interpreter must interpret everything that is spoken and that the client can hear. To ask an interpreter not to interpret something you say (even if it’s just asking the receptionist for a cup of coffee) is asking them to violate their code of ethics. If you don’t want something interpreted, don’t say it at all. Otherwise, you should assume that everything will be interpreted. This allows everyone in the room to remain on equal footing.

· speak to the interpreter instead of the client directly. Speak to your non-English speaking client just as you would speak to any other. Don’t ask the interpreter, “Can you ask him where he was on Friday?”, for example. Instead, make eye contact with your client and ask, “Could you tell me where you were on Friday?” and allow the interpreter to handle the language component. You should also recommend that your client speak to you directly instead of saying things like “Please tell him this…” or “Ask her that…”

While you may already have experience working with interpreters in the past, it is important to remember that interpreters abide by a code of ethics. They are there to assist you, but in the end, only you can give legal advice or share information beyond what you have the interpreter interpret for your client and vice versa.

Marketing to Speakers of Other Languages: A Step-By-Step Plan

With 2018 in full swing, you’re likely considering new ways to market your business. One thing you may want to consider is reaching out to a new demographic. Have you ever thought about marketing directly to speakers of languages other than English? It may seem a little daunting if English is the only language you’re comfortable speaking. The great news is, however, you don’t actually have to speak another language to effectively market to a demographic that does! You can market to this audience in a variety of ways, which can have a positive impact on your brand in the new year. Here are 5 steps for targeting your non-English speaking client base in 2018.

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1.    Start with your website. Websites are a great way to interact with customers who do not speak English. Your customers are most likely starting their online search for a product or service by searching for those with information available in their preferred language. If your website and offerings are translated and localized on your website, they will feel confident in your ability to assist them, and they will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to tailor your content to them. Be sure to use a professional translator or agency to handle this. Errors caused by free translation tools can be extreme and really hurt your brand, even though you have great intentions!

2.    Develop a multilingual SEO strategy. Once you have professionally translated and localized your website, you’ll want to consider a multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. If your website isn’t showing up in search results, the translation you’ve paid to complete will not provide much return on your investment. Analyze your audience and tailor this new strategy to them. You’ll find that it often differs greatly from what you’ve already created for your English-speaking customers. 

3.    Focus on your local market first. While online marketing is important, it is not the only way to reach your new audience. Partner with local businesses in your community, specifically those who already have an existing customer base in your target demographic. See if you can leave your business cards or brochures there as well. And if these items are translated, even better!

4.    Deliver an effective and targeted email campaign. If you are already sending out email newsletters, consider translating them for your non-English speaking readers. You may not have to translate everything within your newsletter, but if you know your customer's email address and preferred language/region, you can target your content specifically to that group. Email blasts in someone’s preferred language are more likely to drive traffic to your website and are a quick and easy way to stay in touch with those who have already decided they trust you enough to hand over their email address!

BONUS TIP #1! Don’t forget to ask for referrals or testimonials you can use in your marketing or on your website. Once you’ve driven more traffic there, it’s a great way for new and/or potential customers to see why working with you is such a wonderful option.

5.    Put your information in local multilingual publications. Don’t neglect print marketing! Dedicate some advertising dollars to multilingual publications in your area, ensuring the advertisement is localized for your non-English speaking audience. You can direct customers to your website for more information, which will help drive traffic there and deliver more information to this target audience!

BONUS TIP #2! Utilize interpreters (on-site or telephonic) as needed for your new customers. Once they have reached out to you, make sure you have a way to communicate with them if you do not already speak their language. You can use telephonic interpreters for initial meetings, and look into bringing in an on-site interpreter for client meetings or any interaction that involves contracts or providing more information as things progress, if you prefer. Trust us… the growth you’ll see from marketing to a new demographic will be worth the investment!

How to Effectively Target the Hispanic Market with Your Real Estate Business

At a time when home ownership is the lowest it has been in around 50 years, it is important to figure out where potential growth can come from for your real estate business. The demographic to watch and focus on is most certainly the Hispanic demographic.

According to the 2016 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, Hispanic homeownership rates have been increasing for the past two consecutive years whereas the overall national rates have been declining. Hispanics are earning more money, are becoming better educated, and are forming households at a faster pace than any other demographic in the country. As more and more Hispanics enter their prime home-buying years, this rate of homeownership should continue to increase.

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As a realtor wanting to focus on attracting Hispanic homebuyers, what can you do?

  • Market your brand with this demographic in mind, but be sure to avoid Hispanic stereotyping in your advertising or messaging. Instead, tailor your message to speak to their wants, needs, and values without including an insensitive stereotype.
  • Translate your listings and other searchable information. Work with an agency to have a professional translation team translate your listings into Spanish to appeal to Hispanic buyers. Not only will a translated listing be more likely to come up in a search result if your potential client is using search terms in Spanish, but buyers will also feel more confident about the property and their decision to purchase through you. Make sure you don’t try to run translations through any automated tools like Google Translate or similar. Doing so will turn up results that are often laughable to your customers and will not bode well for your business or an accurate understanding.
     
  • Look to add a Spanish-speaking agent to your agency’s team. Approximately 7% of real estate agents in the United States are Hispanic. However, 25% of Hispanic buyers say they would prefer to work with a real estate agent who can assist them in Spanish. As the Hispanic home-buying market continues to grow in the coming years, this disparity will become more and more obvious, especially if your agency does not have someone who is able to communicate with this group in their preferred language.
     
  • If you do not have a Spanish-speaking agent available, you could utilize the services of an on-site interpreter to show homes and have meetings with clients, or you might consider telephonic interpreting as an option for these contacts. Even if you do not speak Spanish, knowing that an interpreter is available will make Hispanic buyers feel more at ease with you if Spanish is their preferred language.

Hispanics are typically a very brand-loyal consumer base. Once you effectively engage with this group and begin to grow your Hispanic client base, it is essential that you do everything in your power to make their experience a positive one. If not, negative word-of-mouth and online feedback could hinder your agency’s ability to build a relationship with this demographic in the coming years.