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Greg Holt

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What Does Meaningful Access Really Mean?­­

Posted by Greg Holt on August 30, 2017

Nearly all government agencies and organizations that receive federal funds are required by law to provide limited-English-proficient (LEP) persons “meaningful access” to their services.

What exactly does that mean?  Where did this requirement come from?

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#FinHealthMatters: The Role of Language In Financial Literacy

Posted by Greg Holt on June 27, 2017

For too many, the American Dream feels like a dream deferred.

The harsh reality is that more than half of all Americans (57 percent) struggle to manage their day-to-day financial lives, according to the Center for Financial Services Innovation. That’s 138 million people who aren’t thinking about saving, investing or retirement planning because they’re just trying to get by until their next paycheck.

Just as the medical community has called attention to the importance of physical fitness in combating health problems, the CFSI is sounding the alarm about the importance of being in good financial shape. Today is FinHealthMatters Day, a day dedicated to improving financial health for everyone. That includes not just customers of traditional financial services, but those still at margins or completely outside of the system. When consumers have good financial health, they make better decisions, are more economically stable and have a greater need for long-term services like retirement planning and wealth management.

Here’s a look at what financial health really means and what financial services firms and organizations advocating financial literacy can do to foster it among consumers.

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Infographic: How Language Access Helps Government Agencies Build Public Trust

Posted by Greg Holt on June 15, 2017

Government agencies must overcome language barriers to improve public service and build stronger relationships with their communities.

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Three Metrics to Determine the ROI of Language Access for Government

Posted by Greg Holt on May 19, 2017

Government agencies face enormous challenges.

A growing list of regulations and unfunded mandates have put a strain on already-tight budgets. Maintaining employee morale and retention while serving an increasingly diverse population with high expectations—amid growing public scrutiny—only adds to the pressure.

Improving communication and the overall customer experience is central to overcoming these challenges, and language services are an important component of achieving this. But without meaningful metrics, agencies have a hard time assessing their progress.

Here are three service-related metrics all government agencies should track as they strive to create a better experience for everyone they serve.

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4 Ways Government Agencies Can Maximize Their Investment in Language Services

Posted by Greg Holt on May 17, 2017

The Arizona court system had an expensive problem. The state’s 15 counties cover 114,000 square miles, but well over half its interpreters resided in just one county. Arizona has a large number of residents with limited English proficiency, which meant the state often had to pay interpreters to travel a significant distance to hear court cases.

If hearings were postponed, interpreters still had to be paid for their time – a minimum of two hours, plus travel expenses. The court also had to delay hearings if no interpreter was available. The state found a more efficient and cost-effective solution by installing video conferencing technology in nine courtrooms. Although Arizona still uses on-site interpreters for many of its court cases, video technology gives the state another option when interpreters are unavailable. This has allowed the state to maximize its investment in language services while keeping costs to a minimum.

It’s a universal goal for organizations, whether they operate in a courtroom or any agency that serves the public. Here are four ways agencies can make every dollar go further.

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Effective Language Access: The Challenge for Educators

Posted by Greg Holt on August 10, 2016

With the advent of legislation like the Every Student Succeeds Act, No Child Left Behind, and other regulations that strengthen the involvement of parents in their children’s education, school districts have a growing need for successful language access programs.

At the core of the need for language solutions is the principle of ensuring meaningful access to educational programs. Federal legislation, like Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, which today includes language. Other statutes touching on equal opportunity for children (and their parents) to participate in the educational process include the Equal Educational Opportunity Act, Title III of No Child Left Behind Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Mandates to provide equal access to the benefits of public education are a common theme.

The main driver for the growth of language services in schools is the Limited English Proficient (LEP) population around the country. In the United States, where 1 in 5 individuals now speak a language other than English at home, schools encounter significant language barriers. English language learners (ELL) comprised 9.3% (or 4.5 million students) in 2013-2014. In California that number reached 22.7%! These statistics don’t account for LEP parents. Communicating with parents in their preferred language is critical to their full understanding and participation in their children’s education. 

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How Can a Professional Business Interpreter Make Your Job Easier?

Posted by Greg Holt on April 14, 2016

The skills of a professional business interpreter go far beyond relaying the meaning of words. Regardless of the field you’re in, an experienced interpreter enables you to bridge language and cultural gaps when communicating with people who do not share your mother tongue. That’s critical to doing your job and can make it a lot easier.

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Think Locally... Speaking the Right Language

Posted by Greg Holt on November 20, 2015

U.S. Census data released this month provides detailed information about the more than 350 languages spoken at home across the United States by over 60 million people. The national tally demonstrates how immigration from around the globe continues to change the American cultural landscape. The local data identified by “Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs),” provides counts of different language groups on a local level. For organizations with local service areas, this level of detail is a great way to identify potential service gaps and the need for language support.  

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"The Top 10 Languages"- From the U.S. Census

Posted by Greg Holt on November 13, 2015

Recently published U.S. Census data shows there are a record 63.2 million U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home.  That’s 1 of 5 people. The Census uses over 380 categories to classify all the languages spoken, but nearly 80% of this group fall into top 10 languages.  That few?  Well, yes and no.  When you look closer at languages on this list, the linguistic and cultural diversity is striking.  It serves as a great reminder for any organization communicating with limited English proficient persons that all people from a particular language group are not the same.  Let's take a deeper dive and see some examples.

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Comprehensive Language Data from the U.S. Census Bureau

Posted by Greg Holt on November 5, 2015

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new set of language data that highlights at least 350 languages spoken in the United States. For anyone seeking detailed data of languages spoken in their area, this release offers unprecedented proof of the linguistic diversity across the U.S. A look at the 15 Largest Metro Areas is striking view of the tip of the iceberg.

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