Bridging Language Gaps:

The growth in diversity has made language barriers a common challenge for English speaking as well as non-English speaking individuals living in the United States. Bridging language gaps and ensuring communication is facilitated is important in order to provide healthcare, legal advice and various other services to mainstream American society. It’s best professional interpreters and translators are hired in order to break down language barriers and ensure everyone involved understands the information at hand. If your healthcare facility, business or organization deals with limited English proficient (LEP) individuals on a regular basis, here are helpful tips that will aid in overcoming language barriers that impede our ability to communicate.

Tip #1. Hire a Reliable Language Service Company:

This is the most important aspect of interacting with a LEP individual. Hiring a reputable language service company such as Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is the only way to provide your patients or clients with the professional language services they need. Interpreters and translators provided by Niki’s Int’l Ltd. are experienced, qualified and trained to handle the challenges language barriers present. Relying on a friend, family member or bilingual staff in order to interpret or translate can almost always ensure a misunderstanding of some variation. Misinterpretations can be dangerous or even life changing in healthcare or legal settings. The interpreter or translator is the key link that connects thoughts, ideas and words between languages and cultures, hiring a professional is the only way to ensure this is completed with the highest level of competency within the field.  

Tip #2. Speak Clearly and Avoid Slang, Idioms, Jokes and Jargon:

When using a professional interpreter or translator, its best to keep the information being converted from one language into another clear and concise. In most situations slang, idioms, jokes and jargon do not directly translate from language to language, so it’s best to avoid if at all possible. Jokes are an interpreter’s worst nightmare, most jokes are overflowing with cultural nuances, local customs, regional expressions and historical events, it is almost impossible to interpret a joke from one language into another with it making sense and everyone understanding the humor in it. Avoid jokes at all costs, most likely they will not be funny or understood. Idioms are another form of language that is almost impossible to interpret into another language with it making sense. For example in German, “Att glida in på en räkmacka,” directly translated means, “To slide in on a shrimp sandwich.” The idiom refers to somebody who didn’t have to work to get where they are, however this concept and choice of words will definitely not be understood in any language other than German.

Tip #3. Have Important Documents Translated to Keep on Hand:

When communities are intertwined with so many cultures and languages, translation accommodations need to be made to provide everyone with equal treatment and care. In order to help bridge the communication gap, certain forms should be translated by a professional translator and be readily available for you to hand out in the languages commonly used by the regional LEP population in your area. Hiring a language service company in order to have your important documents translated is highly recommended and can save you from dangerous situations caused by misinterpretations. This will improve your LEP patient or client satisfaction and allow them the opportunity to be provided with essential information in their mother tongue.

Tip #4. Be Respectful When Communicating With LEP Individuals:

Language barriers are frustrating for English speakers, but think about how frustrating it can be for the LEP individual involved. Imagine being at the hospital and the nurses and doctors are poking and prodding at you and you have no idea what’s going on or even how to ask the healthcare workers what they are doing? This is scary and in many cases unavoidable, this is why language barriers need to be treated with patience, understanding, and conscientiousness. It’s important to be aware and respectful of the LEP individual, speaking loudly or over enunciating your words is not going to make them understand you any better. Speaking in a normal pace and tone shows respect and allows the interpreter to better do their job. Taking the time to hire a reputable language service company and following these helpful tips can aid in diminishing language barriers and provide understanding for all parties involved.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

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