LanguageLine Solutions and Equiva, a digital patient engagement and health relationship management solution provider, have announced a strategic partnership. The goal is to support healthcare organizations (HCOs) in reducing language as a barrier to care for individuals not proficient in English, as well as to promote efforts to advance health equity.Read More
When it comes to phone interactions, non-English speakers are accustomed to explaining the best they can to whomever answers a call that they need assistance in their desired language. Quite often their needs go unresolved.
Overcoming language barriers during phone interactions frequently presents a challenge, often leading to frustration for multicultural individuals. Many simply stop attempting to communicate and become less engaged.
Fortunately there is a simple remedy that can widen phone access and increase community engagement. These multilingual phone trees – which LanguageLine Solutions calls DirectResponse - are quickly being implemented around North America.
Multilingual phone trees allow for an interpreter’s voice to be the first one the limited-English caller hears so that the entire call can be conducted in the language they need. DirectResponse provides an in-language experience for limited-English callers from the beginning of the call to the end.
The end result is a more inviting experience for all callers – not just those who speak English. Whether you are a business, healthcare facility, school, or government agency, DirectResponse allows you to engage more fully with the community you serve and by making your organization available by phone to your entire potential audience.
In this blog, we’ll first show you how DirectResponse works and then provide an example of how one client has implemented it.
How Multilingual Phone Trees Work
Any organization can quite easily embed a call flow so that an interpreter is by the caller’s side the entire time. Here’s how it works:
The organization embeds a LanguageLine toll-free number into its phone tree. It is imperceptible to the limited-English caller that an external interpretation company is facilitating the call. From the caller’s perspective, the office they are calling has installed an easy communication system to better facilitate a call.
The limited-English caller is greeted by a language menu. They choose their language from in-language prompts and are connected directly to an interpreter. The limited-English caller and interpreter are then connected to the organization’s office together. From the moment the organization’s representative is connected to the call, the interpreter helps facilitate the conversation.
Once the toll-free number is embedded in the client’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology, there is no ramp-up time for interpretation services. Since the limited-English customer is calling the main number, there is no separate number to call and no external messaging to limited-English populations.
DirectResponse is especially valuable in situations in which the limited-English caller already has anxiety and really needs easy access to in-language support so that they will not hang up or avoid communications.
Multilingual Phone Trees in Action
As first reported by WOOD-TV, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office in Grand Rapids, Mich., has just implemented DirectResponse in its efforts to overcome language barriers.
When people call the prosecutor’s office, they are given a multilingual phone tree with nine language options.
The new system connects callers to a LanguageLine legal interpreter with a click of a button. The interface features English, Spanish, Nepali, Somali, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Farsi, Korean and French.
“It saves the client time, it saves us time and ultimately it provides better services to the public,” said Brandy Johnson, administer for the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office.
During the pandemic, the prosecutor’s office was working on ways to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. So, they thought to start at the front desk.
Under the old system, a client would call in, the receptionist would assess if a legal interpreter was needed, and a complicated process would begin.
“It could take you 10 to 15 minutes just to try to get that conversation going,” Johnson said. “Meanwhile, sometimes (callers) would hang up.”
That can cause big legal problems.
Ben O’Hearn, an attorney at Migrant Legal Aid, said most of his clients speak Spanish. He says previously by the time information was interpreted, the client may have missed key court deadlines.
That can cause long-term effects because in some cases, undocumented individuals can be eligible for a visa, relief from deportation, and potentially a green card or citizenship. But that can only happen if they cooperate with law enforcement.
“If they miss key deadlines when they are working with the prosecution, then the prosecutor’s office might believe that they have not been cooperative,” O’Hearn said.
The prosecutor’s office partnered with LanguageLine. Now before the conversation begins, a caller is connected to an interpreter who speaks their language.
“I think it’s a really good step to help them have more access to the justice system,” O’Hearn said.
Are you interested in having an interpreter on the line from the beginning of a call to the end? If so, DirectResponse may be an excellent fit for your organization.
The academic quarter has ended for most, which means that parent-teacher conferences are on the horizon. For those in the midst of distance learning, these conferences may be conducted via Zoom or another virtual platform.
Remote parent-teacher conferences can be a challenge under any circumstance, but especially so when the parent speaks limited English or is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. Educators will want to bring an interpreter on the line to help facilitate mutual understanding.
We are often asked: Can I add an interpreter to a parent-teacher Zoom call? The answer is “yes.”Read More
Hopefully you’ve read our recent guide, “Zoom: How to Add an On-Call Interpreter to a Virtual Meeting.” It provides a simple, step-by-step process for bringing an interpreter into your Zoom call when you’re working with someone who speaks limited English or is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
Virtual meetings are here to stay, but they’re not all the same. Depending on the nature of your Zoom meeting, you may want to take additional steps to improve the experience for the person on the other end of the line.Read More
Demographic shifts tell us that financial consumers have become more culturally and ethnically diverse.
Over 65 million U.S. residents—or 21 percent of the U.S. population over the age of five—speak a language other than English at home. More than one out of every 12 people in the U.S. are limited English proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English less than very well. This group represents around nine percent of adults living in America.Read More
Our healthcare partners are always seeking to bring language access closer to their patients’ bedsides.
One way to do this is through mobile interpreting. You can download the LanguageLine app to any networked mobile device and instantly be able to reach a live, professional interpreter in more than 240 languages at the touch of a button. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in video or audio-only formats.
There is yet another elegant solution that brings an on-demand interpreter to the patient.Read More
We are living in a new normal. Faced with providing essential services from a distance, many organizations are being introduced to professional interpretation and translation for the first time.
In coming weeks, we will be producing articles on how to evaluate potential language-services providers. We also encourage you to download our ebook, Five Critical Criteria for Selecting Your On-Demand Interpreting Partner. An effective language-access program begins with knowing the languages spoken in your region. If you’re curious, we recommend downloading our new infographic, The Most-Spoken Languages Across America.Read More
Timmins is a city in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Its population of nearly 42,000 is growing increasingly diverse.
Timmins has always been linguistically diverse, as more than half the population is bilingual in English and French. The Timmins Police Service has long had multilingual officers who could communicate with the public in English, French, or Cree.
But the community has seen cultural diversity expand in unpredictable ways, and police found themselves in need of interpretation in numerous of other languages. Police Chief John Gauthier said the community has seen a rapid increase in international students and their families relocating from Southern Ontario.Read More
The Mount Sinai Health System in New York serves one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world.
The system’s motto is “Better Together,” and from the start of the coronavirus outbreak, their values drove the way they delivered language services during the COVID-19 crisis. This included:Read More