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LINER NOTES: Should Students Use Netflix to Learn a Foreign Language?

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on March 6, 2019

Each week, LanguageLine selects five stories about language and culture that we think readers will find interesting, as they could have far-reaching implications.

We wrote earlier this week about how America’s failure to fund language education is creating a national security crisis. Reports suggest that fewer school-age kids in English-speaking countries are picking up a second or foreign language. This is an alarming trend as it makes students less competitive, in addition to leaving them with a smaller arsenal of the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly globalized and multicultural world.

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America’s Failure to Fund Language Education Is Creating a Crisis

Posted by Suzanne Franks on March 4, 2019

If we care about national security, language education is a "need to have," not a "nice to have."

It was recently reported that colleges in the United States shuttered a staggering 651 language programs in a recent three-year period, while only 7 percent of U.S. college students are currently enrolled in a language course. This news did not create the shockwaves it should have, as America’s failure to invest in language learning has led to a crisis that could have implications for generations to come.

The magnitude of this predicament was apparent as we gathered in Washington, D.C., several weeks ago for Language Advocacy Day, an annual event on Capitol Hill produced by the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) that is aimed at garnering more federal support for language education. Talking with lawmakers, educators, and other language professionals, it was impossible to miss the fact that absent a much greater investment in language education, America’s national security and ability to compete in a global marketplace will be put at great risk. Simply put: to remain competitive and safe, the U.S. needs more world-language learners – and accomplishing this will require funding.

Language Advocacy Day attendees learned that it took several years for the full impact of the 2008 recession to be felt by foreign-language programs. Higher education lost just one foreign-language program from 2009 to 2013. From 2013 to 2016, it lost 651.

“I'm really concerned that in 2020 (when the study is conducted again), that number is going to be higher," said Dennis Looney, director of programs at the Modern Language Association.

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LINER NOTES: This 2-Year-Old Deaf Girl’s Neighborhood is Learning American Sign Language

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on February 25, 2019

Each week, LanguageLine selects five stories about language and culture that we think readers will find interesting, as they could have far-reaching implications.

Two-year-old Samantha Savitz is deaf, but she loves to talk to anyone who knows sign language. Her desire for engagement has been painfully obvious to everyone in the neighborhood.  Whenever they see her on a walk or in her yard — and Sam tries to be neighborly — they find themselves at frustrating loss for words.

On their own, Sam's neighbors got together, hired an instructor, and are now fully immersed in an American Sign Language class. 

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LINER NOTES: Japan Embraces Video Interpreting for Retail, Banks

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on February 18, 2019

We have been talking a lot lately about the massive potential for adding video interpretation to branch offices and brick-and-mortar retail locations. (In fact, we wrote an ebook on how banks can best use video interpreting.) It seems that Japan is taking heed of the many benefits video remote interpreting (VRI) can deliver.

In light of an increasing number of foreign customers, Japanese supermarket giant Aeon Co. has launched a real-time video interpreting service. Shop clerks at about 550 Aeon stores now carry smartphones or tablet devices that can access interpreters through video chat software similar to Facetime or Skype.

Meanwhile, Japan’s MUFG Bank has started an over-the-counter service for hearing-impaired customers that involves sign language-fluent interpreters on tablet devices. The assistance is the first of its kind at a Japanese bank. The service is available at most outlets, and it acts as an intermediary between a hearing-impaired customers and bank staff at the counter.

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Does Your Staff Need Medical Interpreter Certification?

Posted by Ana Catalina Gonzalez Siax on February 15, 2019

When it comes to health care, quality medical interpreting can have a profound impact on patient outcomes.

Using professional interpreters reduces the risk to patients and enhances their health literacy, which in turn empowers patients to be proactive and experience better outcomes. Medical interpreting is a specialization with the field, as it requires a command of terminology and concepts.

A 2015 study in the journal Medical Care assessed the accuracy of medical interpretation during 32 primary care visits and found errors were twice as likely to occur when physicians used untrained interpreters compared to professional interpreters.

Nearly 7 percent of those errors could have had significant medical consequences, such as giving an incorrect drug dosage or inaccurately describing the patient’s symptoms.

By using medical interpreter certification as a standard process to qualify interpreters,  you can ensure you’re providing meaningful language access for your patients. This enables your organization to comply with federal laws while also improving patient experience and outcomes. Additionally, it allows your organization to justify pay increases to bilingual employees and improves their own professional development.

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Beyond Contact Centers: How to Make Face-to-Face Interactions Your Customer-Service Gold Standard

Posted by Traci Parker on February 8, 2019

It’s no secret that our world is increasingly becoming more digitized. Where we once had customer service agents, we now have apps. Where there were retail outlets, we now have online platforms and overnight delivery. “Bites” have become “bytes,” as even fast food can be ordered with your smartphone.

Some personal interactions remain intact, however. Think of the person who walks into a branch location to set up a utility service or open a bank account. There are also times when utility providers or other service people must come to our homes to check a meter, make a repair, or deliver an item.

Overcoming language barriers during these face-to-face interactions frequently presents a challenge, which often leads to frustration for multicultural customers.

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LINER NOTES: How Ariana Grande Made the Case for Professional Translation

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on February 4, 2019

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LINER NOTES: Four Steps to Improve Depression Care for Multicultural Communities

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on January 28, 2019

Multicultural patients face multiple barriers to receiving care for depression such as scant referral options.

A Virginia-based health center's quality improvement project was able to significantly improve depression care for a vulnerable multicultural population, research shows.

Annual societal costs associated with depression are estimated at $210 billion, and depression is the top cause of disability globally. For minority, immigrant, or refugee patients, cultural factors often impede depression treatment.

"Improving depression screening should lead to measurable outcomes for those who screen positive, including referral to mental health specialists, prescription of appropriate medications, and perhaps most importantly, scheduling of follow-up appointments to monitor signs and symptoms of depression," said Ann Schaeffer of the Harrisonburg Community Health Center.

"There are multiple barriers. These include clinics not prepared with screening tools in multiple languages; providers not culturally aware of the stigma attached to depression; lack of provider confidence in client engagement; and few referral options for multicultural populations."

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Correcting Three Misconceptions About The 2019 CMS Call Center Monitoring Study

Posted by Mike McMahon on January 23, 2019

Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conduct a Call Center Monitoring Study.

CMS performs the study between February and June by placing calls to Medicare Part C and D call centers to - among other thing - evaluate performance in assisting Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers.

A portion of the study measures the availability of an interpreter, as well as the accuracy of information provided by the customer-service agent. This portion is called the Accuracy and Accessibility Study.

There are massive financial and marketing implications to the CMS study, as plans earning four and five stars stand to net additional dollars in Quality Bonus Payments, as well as valuable opportunities to shop their plans. (Five-star plans are afforded the opportunity to enroll members throughout the year.)

Given these high stakes, it’s only natural that misconceptions would emerge as plans aim for the highest score possible.

Below are three misconceptions that we hear most often. We’ve researched each of these suppositions and are glad to explain the reality behind each of them.

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LINER NOTES: Harvard Report Says Language, Cultural Competency Are Keys to Competitive Healthcare Market

Posted by The LanguageLine Solutions Team on January 22, 2019

The increasingly competitive healthcare market is facing the problem of balancing the need to deliver good clinical outcomes with demands for patient satisfaction. Patients and families are increasingly taking the initiative in steering their healthcare experiences.

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