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What the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Means for Your Law Firm

If your law firm collects, stores or uses personal data from citizens within the European Union (EU), it is important to understand what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will mean for you. The new data protection standards put in place by the GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018. This not only affects practices based out of countries in the EU, but will also impact U.S.-based firms that have access to data for EU citizens. Since violating the new GDPR standards could mean serious fines for your practice, we’ve put together a few key points to make sure you are ready for the May 25th changes.

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  • Under the GDPR, your law firm will be considered a “data controller” as opposed to a “data processor” since you have the ability to state how and why personal data is collected.
  • The regulations do not apply just to data you collect moving forward, but retroactively as well. If you have not already taken steps to examine and assess where all of your data is stored, it is important to begin now. Your practice will need to make sure you have the ability to do the following with this data, according to the new regulation’s standards:

           - Erase a consumer’s entire data profile at their request;
           - Provide information to the consumer about exactly what data you are processing, where
              you are storing it, and the purpose this data collection serves;
           - Provide the consumer with a copy of the personal data you’ve collected on them at their
             request.

The consumer also has the right to question and fight all decisions that may impact them if the decisions were made on a purely algorithmic basis.

  • Failing to meet the requirements of the GDPR could result in a fine of up to $23 million or 4% of your firm’s annual worldwide turnover. If these fines are implemented, it could put some practices out of business. There are cyber insurance policies available, but whether or not to invest in this type of service will depend on each practice’s individual needs.

The standards put in place by the GDPR are quite different from the more liberal U.S. approach to consumer data collection, so if your firm may be impacted by these changes, it is imperative that you begin preparing now for the May 25th changes to be sure your data collection methods are lawful under the new standards.

How to Make Updates to Your Translated Technical Materials

When you release a new product, it is often accompanied by an instruction booklet or user manual. If you are targeting a demographic in another country or even one in the U.S. that does not primarily speak English, you’ve likely had manuals like these translated as well.

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If and when your original (or source) English manual changes, it is important to remember to update your translated documents as well. Sometimes, you may release a similar or updated version of the product that only needs a few changes or additions within the existing manual. Here are a few ways to make sure that the translated updates are handled professionally and flow well without needing to have the entire user manual translated all over again.

  • When possible, it is best to work with the same team or agency that translated the original text. They will likely have the ability to use the same team of linguists who worked on the project previously. Since each person has their own unique writing style, even within translations, using the same linguists will ensure your updates read the same as what was originally translated. Consistency across the board is key.
     
  • If you are unable to work with the same team or agency that previously handled your project for you, be sure to send the new team the entire file that was previously translated. This will help the team build a database with resources to get the style of the new text as close as possible to the original translation.
     
  • When you are updating part of the text or adding to it, send over the newly updated English file along with your request. You can highlight the text that needs to be updated or added. Seeing the new text in context will help the team working on your project to deliver the best possible translation for you, without any potential for errors from lack of context. This tip is especially important, as context is everything when it comes to translating texts. If the translation team cannot see the new text in context, there is a potential for errors or misinterpretations of the text. This little step takes only a moment, but it can make or break the outcome of the updated translation.

If you have any questions or concerns about updating product manuals and guides, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to both provide a free quote for the updates, or answer any questions you may have about the process along the way!

How to Ease the College Application and Registration Process for International Students

Applying for and registering for college can be a demanding process for any student. From visa requirements to English proficiency exams, international students face a number of unique challenges when it comes to this same registration process. Here are just a few ways you can help make this process a little easier for incoming international students, and in turn, be a more attractive option for those considering attending your university.

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1. Create a step-by-step guide that includes all the requirements a student will need to fulfill when applying for and registering for classes. This guide should be easily accessible on your university’s website. Consider having separate web pages for each subtask to keep things organized and easy to follow, as well. Each link should be clearly labeled and each page should provide links to the next steps in an easy-to-follow format so that a potential incoming student has no trouble navigating the steps in the process.

2. Consider having a professional translate portions of the admissions web pages. Students often rely on family members or other to help them enroll or make a decision on which institution to attend. Having potentially complicated information available in the student’s/family’s primary language could certainly be helpful in helping them make a decision about choosing your university as their home for the next four years.

3. Provide phone numbers that will connect students directly to someone knowledgeable in international student admissions.  If certain admissions officers or advisors are trained in fielding questions and concerns about different guidelines and forms for international students, route the phone calls directly to these individuals for the best possible experience when these students need help during the process.

Once the student is accepted, offer a separate and required international student orientation when he or she arrives. This orientation should cover all aspects of how your university is equipped to help them succeed as an international student on your campus. This will show students that you are not only dedicated to their success from the very beginning, but it also allows you to instruct them on the resources available as they continue their journey at your university.

Foreign Language Social Media Marketing: From Post to Purchase

Social Media is a key strategy for just about any business’ international marketing strategy. Having an engaging foreign language social media presence is not enough, however. Once you engage your users on social media platforms, it is essential that users have a positive experience from the moment they click on your post to the moment they check out and purchase your service or product. Here are a few ways you can ensure this experience is seamless for your foreign language market.

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1.    Choose social media channels carefully depending on your target market. Facebook and Twitter may be dominant players across many international communities, but you may also find that your target market hangs out on social media channels you are unfamiliar with. If you are marketing to consumers in China, for example, you will want to familiarize yourself with their top 3 social media channels: WeChat, Tencent QQ, and Sina Weibo.

2.    Localize your content. Language is the first step, and it’s vital to getting it right. Proper translation of your posts is critical to making sure your message is received in a positive way. Since “speaking” to your audience in the U.S. is different than speaking to those in another country, localization is the next step after translation. Not only do your words need to translate well, but the images, colors, slogans, etc. that you use must also resonate with potential customers. Knowledge of trends and culture will take you far with this step. But don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to tackle localization. Professionals specializing in localization for various markets will be a key factor in the big picture, and you can hire someone to help you.

3.    Focus on where your content takes your audience. Once you’ve engaged your audience with social media posts, make sure the pages you link to are also translated and localized for this market. If the page your post directs users to is only in English, potential customers will get confused. Instead, provide links to pages specifically designed for them. They will be more inclined to continue reading about your product or service if it is in their own language and localized to fit their demographic and culture.

4.    Ensure your checkout experience is tailored to your market. If you have spent the time and money to localize your social media posts and product landing pages for your target demographic, the last step is the “buy” button or checkout experience. If your target market resides in Germany, for example, the total amount due should be shown in Euros and the shipping and billing address fields should populate with the proper fields for a German address and not request a U.S. zip code, for example. The consumer should not feel confused by this step. Instead, they should feel confident that their items will be delivered to them without any hitches.

Knowing how to guarantee a seamless experience, from the time your team uploads your posts to the moment the consumer makes a purchase, is key when beginning your international social media-marketing journey. When done correctly, international and foreign language social media marketing can deliver tremendous ROI and turn a sizable profit for your business.

How to Become Known as the "Go-To" Realtor Among Speakers of Other Languages

With the ever-growing number of LEP individuals in the United States, it may seem like learning multiple languages would be the best way to help grow your real estate business. According to HUD, nearly 9% of the U.S. population has limited English proficiency, and about 65% of those LEP individuals speak Spanish at home. Although being able to speak with buyers in their own language is helpful, it thankfully isn’t the only way to connect with this market. Here are a few ways you can become their go-to realtor in other ways.

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1.     Find your resources. Many state REALTOR® associations provide translated copies of forms and contracts for association members. If you are a member of your state association, be sure to request this information in the languages you encounter most often. Work with lenders and title companies who offer translations of their documents, as well. A buyer who understands what he or she is agreeing to is more likely to feel appreciated and supported during the purchasing process, and therefore, more likely to recommend you and your office to friends and family when they are considering purchasing a property. The Federal National Mortgage Association, Fannie Mae, offers a translated glossary and other forms in Spanish, as well. It is worth downloading these forms for your clients to ensure they understand the process.

2.     Offer interpreting services when necessary. It is vital to ensure that your clients understand the entire property purchasing process. If your client does not completely understand what is happening, you could potentially omit steps that may be important to him/her. Your client could, for example, forego a home inspection contingency in the purchasing agreement without realizing it if they misunderstand what you’ve said in a review of the contract itself. Providing an interpreter, either in person or over the phone, will help your client feel more at ease asking and answering questions, especially when it comes to the more complicated or technical components of  contracts and negotiations.

3.     A little effort goes a long way. You don’t have to be fluent in another language to make a lasting and positive impression on your LEP clients. Make an effort to learn a few key phrases and greetings in the languages you come across most frequently. Your clients will appreciate the effort, knowing you’ve taken the time to learn how to greet them in their own language. You should also learn more about the culture of your LEP clients when possible. Knowing whether to greet with a handshake, or another form of greeting will go a long way with your clients. Handing your customers a professionally translated one-page sheet with information about you and your background can truly sell them on wanting to work with you as their realtor. It shows that you took the time to provide them information in the language in which they feel most comfortable, and you’ve told them more about yourself, which makes them put trust in you and your expertise.

Bonus Tip! The National Association of REALTORS® offers language books and programs to their members at no additional charge. You can search for offerings on their website at https://www.nar.realtor/library 

As the foreign-language market continues to grow here in the U.S., becoming the go-to realtor for one or some of these demographics has huge growth potential for your real estate business. Buyers who have a positive experience with you and your office are likely to recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues who may need someone more sensitive to their language needs. If you’ve found other ways to effectively engage with your foreign-language market, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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.

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.

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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 the 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 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 medication 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 qualified interpreter present during admission and discharge, as well as having the 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. If you are in doubt of the patient’s understanding, you can always use the “teach back” method to have the patient confirm what is expected of them when they leave.

Ensure proper training for your physicians and staff

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, or because they overestimate their English competency. Having a professional interpreter present or an over-the-phone interpreter available will 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!

Looking Beyond Your ESL Teachers for Translation/Interpreting Needs

Looking Beyond Your ESL Teachers for Translation/Interpreting Needs

It may be tempting to use your English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to translate texts your school needs in another language, or to ask them to interpret for parents who don’t speak English well. However, it is important to note that unless they have a background as a professional translator or interpreter in the particular field you need, your ESL teachers are not those best skilled to handle this task.

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3 Reasons Why Foreign Language Departments Are Not the Place to Look for Translators

3 Reasons Why Foreign Language Departments Are Not the Place to Look for Translators

It may be tempting to email the chair of your university’s foreign language department to translate texts that you need in another language. However, it is important to note that unless those you are approaching have a background as professional translators in the particular field you need (let’s say, a text for marketing), then more often than not, foreign language professors and students are not those best skilled to handle this task. Why’s that? Well, they didn’t study marketing. And they probably didn’t all get a degree in translation.

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