All Graduates Interpreting & Translating is proud to announce our partnership in the Multilingual Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line.

All Graduates
All Graduates | 12 Feb 2021

The Australia-wide support line was launched on the 10th of February 2021 and will run until the 30th July 2021. The support line will increase access for older people from culturally diverse and linguistically backgrounds to information in their preferred language.

Callers will be able to speak with a phone support worker in Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Mandarin or Vietnamese.

The Navigator System was built by the IT Department at All Graduates to manage and support the phone support workers to engage with callers in their own language.

 
Project Partners

The Multilingual Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line is led by the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing (supported by Benetas) in partnership with Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Services and supported by the PICAC Alliance, OPAN, Dementia Australia, National Seniors Australia, National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council and COTA Australia.

 

About the Support Line

The support line will provide callers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across Australia access to information areas about:

  • COVID-19 updates and restrictions that may affect them, their families or friends
  • Information on types of residential and home aged care services
  • Access to aged care and community services that are culturally aligned and speak their language.
  • Information on dementia support or caring for someone living with dementia

The support line will run for six months from 10 February 2021 until 31 July 2021 will be offered in the following six languages:

  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • Mandarin
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Vietnamese

 

 How the Support Line Works

All calls are triaged by trained multilingual personnel and then directed to multilingual guidance from the COVID-19 Support Line for older Australians delivered by COTA Australia, OPAN, National Seniors Australia and Dementia Australia.

Older people, their families and carers who would like information and support are encouraged to contact the Multilingual Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line Monday to Friday between 2pm and 5pm Melbourne time (except public holidays) on:

  • 1800549844 – Italian
  • 1800549845 – Greek
  • 1800549846 – Vietnamese
  • 1800549847 – Mandarin
  • 1800549848 – Cantonese
  • 1800549849 – Arabic

 

 
More Information 

If you have questions about the phone line, please email:
multilingual@culturaldiversity.com.au

If you’d like to share/promote the phone line, please visit:
http://www.picacalliance.org/multilingual-older-persons-covid-19-support-line/

 

Launching our Professional Development and Training Division...

All Graduates
All Graduates | 13 Jul 2020

All Graduates is committed to ensuring our panel of interpreters and translators are skilled, competent, work ready and are supported in undertaking interpreting and translation jobs for our clients.

To this end, All Graduates is proud to formally announce the launch of our Professional Development and Training Division:

Conversations:
Interpreting and Translating

 

Sessions are delivered live or as online workshops, webinars and on-demand pre-recorded courses. We will also present Q&A panel discussions/interviews facilitated by industry experts. The panel will comprise T&Is, user client representatives (e.g. Hospital language services manager) and All Graduates translations project managers/interpreter coordinators.

Information about our Conversations: Interpreting and Translating is now available at our new training website –  https://allgraduates.arlo.co/w/

 

(A shortcut to this website is also available from the Home Page)

On this website you can view the following menu items:

  1. Upcoming Events – View any upcoming events
  2. Webinars – View any upcoming webinars
  3. On DemandPaid access to a range of past recorded webinars. Note: Recordings that are exclusively available for All Graduates T&Is can be accessed in the Interpreter Mobile app > Resources > PD Videos
  4. Catalog – View the full list of Upcoming, Past or On-Demand Events
  5. Calendar – See Upcoming Events in a Calendar view
  6. Presenters – Read the Bio of our Professional Learning Facilitators and Consultants
  7. Podcasts – Access quick link to our streaming services

 

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you read the ‘HOW TO REGISTER’ information on any event, as you may be eligible for FREE registration via your individual email invitation or special discounted prices when validating your All Graduates ID.

 

 

Introduction to Fatih Karakas

Whilst he is no stranger to All Graduates, we’d like to formally introduce Fatih Karakas as the Trainer & Professional Development Training Coordinator of All Graduates.

Fatih has facilitated a number of our previous events, and will continue to ensure our PD events are current for the T&I industry as well as addressing interpreting and translation related challenges and strategies.

 

Professional Development Webinars

Since 2018, we have launched a number of Webinars specifically to support and upskill interpreters.

Our past webinars are exclusively available to our panel of interpreter & translators and are available to view in the Interpreter Mobile App > Resources > PD Videos.

New and Upcoming Webinars notifications will be sent via email to All Graduates panel of T&Is where applicable.

Also make sure to check our training website for new events as this will be updated regularly. Webinars registrations will vary from FREE to All Graduates T&Is or a discounted price of $20 with ID Verification.

 

Podcasts – NEW!

As part of this PD initiative, we are delighted to announce we have launched a weekly podcast to complement our webinars and online courses.

Each episode facilitated by Fatih Karakas will have a special guest and conversation about current and hot topics related to the T&I industry as well as interpreting and translation related challenges and strategies.

Guests will vary from T&I practitioners across Australia to key figures in the industry as well as expert names in other fields of practice that are intertwined with interpreting and translating.

Each episode will run for approximately 15-20 minutes and will be available via YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Spotify as well as the All Graduates training website.

Our inaugural episode will host RMIT University Master of Translating and Interpreting Program Manager, Dr Erika Gonzalez Garcia and we will talk about the importance of formal training of T&I practitioners as well as scholarships and their importance to our industry.

 

 

Your interest and support is greatly appreciated and we hope you will join us for our events throughout 2020 and onwards.

If you have any questions, please contact webinars@allgraduates.com.au.

 

All Graduates
All Graduates | 8 Jul 2020

Healthdirect Video Call is a commonwealth government-funded video conferencing platform for health professionals and their patients. Telehealth is now part of everyday life, but learning how to navigate new technology can be difficult if English is not your first language.

To help clinicians support their patients, whose first language is not English or have limited English language proficiency, Healthdirect Video Call service has produced translated version of their ‘Attending your appointment via A Video Call’ flyer in 26 different languages. The flyer explains to patients how they can access their video appointments and how to get the best out of the experience. It can be customised to include the clinic’s information and includes a QR that allows patients to quickly access the waiting area prior to their appointment.

Being able to read the technical instructions in their own language helps alleviate a lot of the stress many patients feel when it comes to using telehealth.

Responding to the needs of the community, All Graduates have produced translated Telehealth instruction sheets working with NAATI-certified translators to make sure each one was correct and user-friendly.

 

The following languages are provided:

English to Albanian translation, Shqip 
English to Arabic translation, العربية
English to Bosnian translation, Bosanski
English to Burmese translation, မြန်မာစာ
English to Croatian translation, Hrvatski
English to Filipino translation, Tagalog
English to Greek translation, Eλληνικά
English to Hindi translation, हिन्दी
English to Hungarian translation, Magyar
English to Indonesian translation, Bahasa Indonesia
English to Italian translation, Italiano 
English to Karen translation 
English to Macedonian translation, Mакедонски
English to Nepali translation, नेपाली

 

View the translations here

 


 

Client Testimonials:

 

“All Graduates Interpreters and Translators assists Alfred Health Language Services department with the provision of Telehealth video-conference interpreting service in inpatient and outpatient settings. The set-up of the service was stress-free and managed in a timely fashion. The professionalism, reliability and, flexibility of Ismail and Mikaela helps Language Services to provide quality VRI to Alfred Health LEP patients.”

Ida Giaccio, Team Leader, Alfred Health Language Services


“Melbourne Health has a long standing relationship with All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Services. All Graduates take particular care with our portfolio, and we feel our health service is a top priority. All Graduates takes innovative steps to ensure that we are provided with the best outcomes for our health service. One of our biggest achievements is the successful partnership with the Health Direct Telehealth platform which enabled Melbourne Health to provide video interpreters via a secure platform to our patients and staff. As this service was established long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there were no delays in providing this service to our staff and patients.”

Christina Leontiou, Interpreter Coordinator, The Royal Melbourne Hospital


“The skilled and highly experienced All Graduates telehealth staff have been instrumental in the success of the virtual remote interpreting service for CaLD patients by liaising with the in-house IT/telehealth team, advising on the workflow coordination of the remote interpreters and assisting with problem solving.”

A major metropolitan health provider

 

Top Honours All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Languages Services Medal awarded to Chamoun Salameh Bechara.

All Graduates
All Graduates | 28 May 2020

An Arabic interpreter who supports interpreting across hospitals in Western Sydney has received top honours from the NSW Government.

The All Graduates Interpreting and Translating Language Services Medal was awarded to Chamoun Salameh Bechara as part of the 2020 Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals.

Mr Bechara leads interpreting services for the Western Sydney Health District. He has also led training with TAFE NSW supporting aspiring interpreters from new and emerging community languages.

Acting Minister for Multiculturalism Geoff Lee said it was outstanding to see a local community member recognised with the prestigious medal.

“Mr Bechara has made an outstanding contribution to our local community and our health system across Western Sydney,” Mr Lee said.

“I wholeheartedly congratulated Mr Bechara on his achievements, particularly in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

“Now more than ever, the tireless work of our community leaders promoting social cohesion and community harmony is vital.

“Incredible leaders like Chamoun, and all interpreters, ensure language is not a barrier to accessing healthcare especially during this critical time.”

Mr Bechara said he felt honoured and privileged to have won the Premier’s Language Services medal.

“I dedicate the medal to my fellow interpreters and translators for being true enablers for our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”

The Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals are traditionally awarded at the annual Premier’s Harmony Dinner gala event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals were awarded virtually.

 

For more information about the Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals and Multicultural Honour Roll see:
 

Whether the issue is as minor as an accent or as major as a wholly foreign dialect...

Ellias Appel
Ellias Appel | 8 Aug 2019

Ten year ago we were servicing about 70 languages. That number has swollen to around 150! Whether the issue is as minor as an accent or as major as a wholly foreign dialect, we know that more of you are bumping up against language barriers in your workplace.


So here are our Top Ten Tips to help you break through barriers and emerge, like the phoenix, reborn! (or maybe you’ll just learn how to communicate better with a diverse range of people)

 

1. Use Plain Language

This seems stupid simple, but guarantee you are as guilty of it as I am. Whether you’re interacting with someone who speaks English as their secondary (or tertiary) language, or trying to convey one of those problems that drip with jargony terms to your non-technical workmates, we should all get in the habit of using plain English language whenever possible. Yes, using large, mul-ti-syll-a-bic words makes you sound smart, but you’re going to feel pretty silly if you need to repeat those words 3 times, and then explain their meaning. Keep your conversations like unbuttered toast: plain and simple.

 

2. Consider Easy English

There is a growing trend amongst groups engaging with diverse cultural groups, and those with low literacy, to produce versions of documents in Easy English. This is a style of writing which uses everyday words, simple sentences and images to support the messages. It is different to plain language and incorporates the layout of information on a page (large font, lots of white space). We are seeing more clients who are pursuing this style of writing as a supplement to their more traditional T&Cs and legalese laden documents.

 

3. Speak slowly and clearly

Like my Nana used to say to me “You’re speaking too fast!”, and you probably are too. Slow it down and annunciate. You may be communicating with someone who speaks English fluently, but that doesn’t mean they can clearly understand your excitedly blurted words. 

Take a page from Audrey Hepburn, and speak your words clearly.

 

 

 

4. Professional Development (PD)

If your industry sector is highly technical, filled with jargon, acronyms and abbreviations, you may consider PD something inward facing. Often, capacity building and staff skilling-up are focussed on your internal processes, and not your customer interactions. Creating a culturally responsive workplace means educating not just your customer facing staff members, but also those who interact with culturally diverse workers. Lessons should include awareness of culturally sensitive issues (such as gender relations), as well as language and literacy deficits which may contribute to confusion when discussing certain topics (such as Family Violence, or financial literacy).

 

5. Use graphics effectively

Like the saying goes, ‘A picture paints a thousand words’. It may seem counter-intuitive for a language services company to advocate for images rather than text, but if you are going to effectively communicate some concepts, you can’t beat imagery. It is especially important when you are translating documents that they are correctly reformatted so that graphics are correctly aligned with your text.

 

6. Repetition

Scientifically, people need to learn something more than once to build a solid recall. For this reason it’s important that repetition of key concepts is a core element of your communication framework. While the jury may be out as to whether it’s best to repeat verbatim, or to alter messages slightly in each repetition, from a customer engagement perspective each has their place. Your core messages should be repeated verbatim (for example “If pain persists, please see a doctor”), but your core concepts may be altered to avoid boredom and disengagement by your audience (for example we use two different phrases in our content “Language and literacy are no longer barriers” and “Language and literacy are no longer a barrier to communication”).

 

7. Repetition

See Step 6 above.

 

8. Be patient and respectful

 

The person you are communicating with is having the same difficulties as you, just from the other side. Try not to get frustrated. If the tables were turned, you’d want to be shown patience and compassion. So, do unto others.

Speak carefully and naturally, clearer not louder.

 

 

 

9. Engage a translator

It may be shocking to learn that even amongst highly educated industries such as healthcare and law, there still exists a portion of practitioners that resort to bilingual staff or family members, rather than suitably trained, independent professionals.

Every document that you deem important to your customers should be translated by a qualified team. In some cases it is even appropriate to perform Independent Checking to safeguard against errors in the translation.

 

10. Enlist interpreters

Even reasonably proficient ESL speakers may experience anxiety when speaking English. Do not hesitate to engage with interpreters when it is appropriate for the customer’s experience, and to ensure a positive outcome for your interaction.

 

11. Upgrade your content

 

Video didn’t kill the radio star! Audio still has pride of place as a useful tool to enhance the effectiveness of your documents and improve understanding for low-literacy cohorts. In fact research points out that multilingual audio actually encourages better outcomes for ESL customers.

We developed our LiME Multilingual Messaging to specifically fill this gap in language services by repurposing existing written documents, and creating pre-recorded audio for customer engagements.

 

Hopefully you’ve picked up a trick or two, and can navigate your next cross-language engagement with confidence and capability.

 

 

Language is the link between behaviour and outcome

Ellias Appel
Ellias Appel | 25 Jun 2019

Strategic Justification

A few months ago, the Daniel Andrew led Victorian Labor Government committed to find “$1.8 billion in savings, which amounts to 4 per cent of its [public service] resources [spending]“. This is an interesting amount, because 4% seems like such a pithy number… and then you realise that we’re talking in the billions and you need to adjust the scale of your perspective.

One of the fascinating elements in finding these savings is that there is often a metric of change which blows that 4% out of the water. For example, we recently tendered for a project aimed at changing patient behaviour for after-hours medical treatments. In a study performed by Deloitte in 2016, they identified that:

“The lowest cost pathways for patients seeking after hours primary care are extended and ‘after hours only’ clinics ($93) … Emergency departments [are] the most expensive [pathway] at $1,351 if arriving by ambulance (or treated and not transported) and $368 if self-presenting.”

To put this in perspective, the inappropriate use of Emergency Departments (i.e. non-critical presentations) significantly impacts the capacity of the healthcare system, as well as incurring costs of 4-14 times their primary health care equivalent. These behaviours are often a consequence of a complex series of factors, but in the case of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse patient groups, there is often an underlying health literacy deficit, specifically regarding awareness of health services.

Census data suggest a strong likelihood of underlying poor literacy and poor English language abilities in the CALD community, and this may additionally be stymieing the effectiveness of traditional campaigns and resources to effect change in the consumer decision making process for these groups. Consequently, creating engaging content and positively impacting on the customer experience is not as simple as translating written materials.

As shown in a research study we recently posted, audio can be the ‘missing link’ in effective engagement for groups with poor English language ability. Additionally, because of varying cultural trends in navigating power-dynamics, it is also important to ensure that your content is assessed for cultural appropriateness and translated by an appropriately qualified professional.

We encourage organisations that are seeking to engage with CALD groups, whether on a large scale (geographically or in population terms) or in highly targeted niche interactions, to explore data rich engagement options, such as online audio delivery, trackable links, IP geolocation and other related options.

Customer engagement is crucial to improving health literacy outcomes, but the same is true for other preferred behavioural outcomes you are trying to instil in your audience. Language informs effective communication within both marketing and resource development, and this is ultimately the linkage between your messages, and the customer outcomes you are pursuing.

 

Showcasing the Telehealth Training Process

All Graduates
All Graduates | 11 Jun 2019

All Graduates was invited to showcase at the Language Services Innovations Grants Forum at Foundation House last week. There were over 30 guests in attendance from various healthcare and language services providers. Our CEO Ismail Akinci was also in attendance.

Our video interpreting coordinator Mikaela was invited to demonstrate how we train and prepare our interpreters for telehealth consultations – an innovative method of providing languages services which is improving public hospitals’ access to professional interpreters. Well done Mikaela!
#languageservices #telehealth #CALD

 

All Graduates
All Graduates | 8 Apr 2019

Australia’s population is booming, with migrants of all types coming to our shores from all corners of the globe. Whilst this makes for a vibrant and diverse society (not to mention an expansive list of takeaway food options), it has also introduced complexities in the operations of public and private sectors. A growing CALD population (possibly struggling with low literacy in their native language), regulatory, ethical and cultural obligations – all of these have made the simple, much less so.

One of the areas in which we are regularly called to engage with our clients is that of operational efficiency. We produce a copious number of reports and analyses for government departments and companies, describing the interface between organisations and non-English speaking clients. We are often the catalyst for the introduction of technologies to enhance this interface, and also to improve the underlying systems with which an organisation may facilitate that interface.


The LiME Multilingual Messaging system evolved from the need to decrease communication barriers, and improve operational efficiencies for businesses and organisations. It has been designed as a sophisticated but easy-to-use tool to facilitate engagement with non-English speaking customers and those with literacy challenges.

 

“From the moment a non-English speaking client walks into your office, the challenge you face is the balance between meeting their needs with the inherent cost and complexity of doing so.”

 

A few years back we were introduced to a multilingual telephone message line (IVR) thanks to a looming Australian Electoral Commission tender. This inelegant proposal planted the seed which we grew into a platform-agnostic messaging system. While the phrasing may be unfamiliar, in practice this is what you do every day – you send your messages on whichever communication platform is available, appropriate or convenient. Whether you are using the web, social media, chat apps or calling an information line, the platform is irrelevant. The ​message ​is the crucial component.

Through a continuous and innovative development process, and ongoing input from our clients (and a Melbourne appropriate volume of coffee consumption), LiME was developed to offer holistic solutions to organisations engaging with CALD groups without sacrificing operational efficiencies.

 

LiME multilingual messaging system
– it ain’t just a member of the citrus family

Extensive research has shown that language barriers cause anxiety and create obstacles for non-English speakers to both engage with society at large, and access services in general. We very often see that our increasingly information-driven economy results in increased workloads and reduced efficiencies when interpreters are utilised in one-way communications. Additionally language translation services, while fundamental to ensuring the proliferation of an equitable society, are not only impacted by low literacy rates among non-English speakers, but also among the general Australian population. In spite of this knowledge, it never occurred to us until we started engaging with our clients just how transformational our LiME system had the potential to be.

 

Technology offers many benefits to language services

We understand the importance of message parity. Whilst AI technologies such as Google translate and Siri are handy day-to-day tools, they are not adequate for use in business and government communications. We recently had this exact issue raised with us by one of our private school clients, as well as the Project Manager of a pilot DHS program. LiME addresses this issue by drastically reducing the risk of miscommunication while improving access to information. We are currently working with multiple organisations that are using this system to reduce the burden on language service teams when communicating repetitive messages, while simultaneously improving access to appropriate language communications for their increasingly diverse clients.

We consider LiME as an adjunct to interpreter services, offering improved efficiencies in one-way message delivery, prior to hand-off to an interpreter if it becomes necessary. We know anecdotally and through our own internal reviews that there are often issues in communication parity when involving interpreters for “real-time translation” of complicated language documents (medical, legal or statutory). Our clients consistently point towards LiME offering immense potential in resolving these issues.

 

“LiME utilises multi-platform technology to create meaninful, comprehensive communications where and when you need them. Discover how it can work for you.”

 

And Here's 3 Solutions to Address this.

All Graduates
All Graduates | 15 Apr 2019

Australia is a nation made up predominantly of immigrants, with the 2016 census revealing that 1 in 4 of us are born overseas. When communicating with clients and customers from diverse backgrounds, it’s crucial to be respectful and culturally sensitive. However, there’s an issue facing adults in Australia, which is especially problematic for those for who face language barriers: that issue is literacy.

14% of Australian adults are illiterate¹. The OECD estimates that the average rate of illiteracy worldwide is 18.9%, and is as high as 30% in some countries. Therefore, immigrants may have a higher rate of illiteracy then the Australian average, and face even greater challenges when engaging with your organisation’s communications. Furthermore, research indicates that many migrants (even as high as 65%) struggle with English language comprehension, and this doesn’t even consider their native language difficulties.

¹OECD Literacy Level 1 or below

 

“Audio is a great equaliser in terms of communicating messages where literacy is an issue.”

 

Australia has a successful history of making effective cultural communications, and the demand for such communications is evident. SBS Radio, for example, broadcasts in 74 languages other than English, and has 1.3 million users streaming each month. With evidence confirming that limited English proficiency directly affects client outcomes, it is crucially important that organisations consider effective multilingual messaging as well as making their English content accessible for users at the lower end of the literacy spectrum.

When seeking to ensure that your messages are being received ​and ​understood, you should consider audio a proven and effective tool. Here are three tools to integrate multilingual audio into your practices.

 

1 – Google Translate: AI and Machine Learning

 

“Hey Google, how do you say ‘pass the wasabi’ in Japanese?”

 

Google has lead the charge in developing an AI driven translation engine. This has seen evolutionary changes, shifting from “​Phrase-Based Machine Translation (PBMT) to Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT)” in 2016. No, we don’t know what that means either. But, the outcome is that through machine learning, their algorithm can figure out ways to translate between languages. It’s not perfect, but ​the strength of these translation methods lies in their speed and accessibility.​ ​At a consumer level, instant translation has made travel phrase books a thing of the past.

Computer-generated translations, adequate for simple phrasing, can produce inaccurate and misleading translations. Whilst this can have hilarious consequences, it is clearly not appropriate in a professional environment where your communications are intimately tied in to the perception of you and your organisation.

When engaging with your low-literacy clients, use AI with a degree of caution.

 

2 – Interpreters for Businesses

 

The impact of qualified interpreters enabling accurate communication is invaluable.

 

With almost 2.4 million Australians – over half a million Victorians – at the very lowest end of the literacy scale, organisations must have the necessary systems in place to cater for their needs. Interpreter services ensure effective and clear engagement with non-English speaking clients.

Qualified and experienced interpreters can offer real-time interaction, encompassing the nuances of verbal. The ubiquity of telephone, video and on-site interpreters makes this a popular and convenient service to access. Furthermore, there are specialised interpreters for areas such as commerce and trade, law and policing, engineering and design, allied health, and many other professional areas.

 

3 – Audio-Messaging

 

For frequently repeated messages, real-time interpreters are neither cost-effective, or convenient. Services such as our LiME Multilingual Messaging system enable you to deliver pre-recorded audio to low literacy clients across multiple communication channels. Your existing communications can be easily repurposed. For example, you could transform your brochure into a telephone message line, a convenient delivery channel for a technologically unskilled audience. Alternatively, you might record your FAQs and serve them via sms in multiple languages.

Social media, instant messaging services such as WeChat or WhatsApp, and even good old fashioned email, can be channels for delivering audio. This is an ideal solution for low literacy or non-English speaking clients who are technologically capable.

Don’t let literacy and language be a barrier to creating dialogues with your customers.

 

Provide your clients with content in their languages, on platforms they are familiar with. Whether it’s a quick sound bite shared via email, or a fun video describing your services, you will encourage meaningful interactions with your clients where they feel valued and respected, by virtue of being the recipients of content created specifically for them.

 

You can connect to your audience in meaningful ways, regardless of literacy proficiency.

 

Want to know how you can best serve your low-literacy clients?

 

References

  • https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/the-ai-behind-google-translate-recently-did-somethi ng-extraordinary.html
  • https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/the-ai-behind-google-translate-has-crea ted-its-own-language-for-translating-between-languages-3692893.html
  • https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/tacl_a_00065
  • K Cala and A Rowland, ‘Strengthening outcomes and maintaining a high level of settlement services: What are the findings from the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) study telling us?’ (May 2016), presentation at the Settlement Council of Australia Conference.
  • Pamela W Garrett, Roberto Forero, Hugh G Dickson and Anna Klinken Whelan, ‘How are language barriers bridged in acute hospital care? The tale of two methods of data collection’, Australian Health Review (2008) 32(4), 760.

“Audio is a great equaliser in terms of Communicating where literacy is an issue.”

Considered, nuanced and creative.

Ellias Appel
Ellias Appel | 5 Apr 2019

Three words that are rarely applied in our clickbait filled, short-attention span, twitter filtered online media landscape*. This is in spite of substantive 1 research suggesting that we need to express exactly those qualities if we want to effectively deliver our organisation’s messages. Add in the obvious barriers when communicating with non-English speaking clients, and you would be understandably intimidated by the challenge provided.

Digital communications make the potential for engagement easier than ever before. But before you jump in and begin creating snazzy ‘solutions focussed’ posts and the occasional cat video, it’s crucial you get know who you’re engaging with, what their literacy and comprehension requirements are, and the real toughie – how to gain their loyalty and trust.

Language needn’t be a barrier, and if you understand the following you can craft meaningful content which is engaging for your non-English speaking clients.

*​yes, we do see the irony of this statement given the title of this piece

 

1 – Non-English Speakers access their information from many sources

 

Many organisations depend on interpreters, but not every situation requires one. Non-English speakers use multiple platforms to communicate, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider doing the same. This was a lesson the Australian Government learnt way back in 1975 when they formed the precursor to the SBS. Originally the goal of this new radio broadcaster was to communicate key social policy changes to migrants and refugees. (learn more about this in our article on SBS and the history of multilingual media).

 

“SBS’s popularity presents a prism through which organisation should view (and often need to rethink) their communication methodologies.”

 

Organisations should take into account the varied digital proficiencies of their audience. What works for some, may not work for all. Skilled migrants, for example, are likely to value messaging apps, social media and on-demand audio content. Conversely, older migrants and refugees may appreciate (or even require) communication via more traditional means (Migliorino, 2016), for example via a ​telephone message service.

 

2 – Verbal proficiency does not equal literacy ability

 

It’s not uncommon for non-English speakers to struggle with literacy. The OECD estimates that the ​average rate of illiteracy worldwide is 18.9%, and is as high as 30% in some countries​. Don’t ignore the significance of literacy issues.

 

 

Audio-messaging for frequently repeated information introduces efficiencies not available with traditional technologies. Our LiME Multilingual Messaging system enables you to deliver pre-recorded audio to low literacy clients across multiple communication channels. And when those communications become conversations it’s time to involve ​telephone, video and on-site interpreters. With potentially 6 million Australians struggling at the very lowest end of the English literacy and comprehension scale, implementing these systems is a no-brainer.

 

3 – Non-English speakers probably have as much trouble understanding your accent, as you do understanding theirs

 

Elongated vowels. Slightly nasal. Finishing sentences with an upward inflection. Oh it’s so easy to do the Australian accent. Yet how many times have you cringed at an American attempting it? Or been perplexed on your travels when you’re asked if you come from London. All accents have an idiolect, shaped by the people you’ve lived with and the culture you’ve grown up in. The Australian accent, can be spoken broader in some areas and more cultivated in others. This doesn’t make it any easier for a foreign to mimic, let alone understand.

Non-English speakers can already find themselves in a ​state of uneasiness​, as they attempt to navigate cultural and linguistic differences when accessing services. Your organisation can ease this process by using messaging services, interpreters and the like to improve communications. We even suggest using ​voice talent with different accents ​for different audiences.

 

 

 

4 – Improving Engagement Builds Better Loyalty

 

In simple marketing terms, it’s crucial you establish a connection with your clients for them to remain engaged and loyal to your business. And it shouldn’t be any different for your non-English speaking clients. In fact, with the ubiquity of “always-on” technology, it’s more important than ever. Clients expect to receive communications that are personal, accessible and targeted to their needs. If your organisation can achieve this, the ultimate result will be happy clients who feel valued and appreciated.

 

Don’t be afraid to engage with your clients via social media, and encourage them to see your website, forums and socials as safe places for them to start conversations and ask questions. The more dialogue you can create, and the more deeply engaged they are, the more ownership and agency they will feel. In an ideal world, they will not only be your fans or supporters, but also your stakeholders and spokespeople. For non-English speakers and people from culturally diverse backgrounds, this presents an opportunity to provide them with a sense of belonging.

 

“Ultimately, your non-English speaking customers have the same needs as you. They require content that is clear, accessible, and targeted to their needs.”

 

References