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© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 1© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary © 2012 Language Line Services “¡AY CARUMBA!” Understanding Language and Cultural Barriers on 911 Calls Manny Solis Western Regional APCO Conference May 2014
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 2 © 2012 Language Line Services 2 Agenda Quick Quiz Warm-up Language Line Services Background Interpreter Survey Addressing Key Issues Working Tips for Dispatchers Q&A
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 3 Quick Quiz What is the No. 1 sport in the US? What is the No. 1 sport in the world? How many languages are spoken in the world today? What are the Top 10 languages in the world? a) 8,500 b) 6,800 c) 2,500
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 4 Quick Quiz What are the Top 10 languages in the world?
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 5 LanguageLine Solutions Background Created the telephone interpretation industry 30 years ago, specifically for public safety >3 million emergency calls/year Over 6,000 interpreters in 6 centers and remote offices Support over 170 languages Interpreters serve diverse customer base: PSAPs, banks, healthcare, insurance, utilities, retail, travel and other businesses
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 6 Interpreter Survey LanguageLine Solutions interpreters are well positioned to assess communication success Interpreter survey created to identify cultural issues with specific language groups, and offer suggested solutions Over 40 languages represented in responses
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 7 Key Issues: #1 Problems with Address Differences in alphabets Ignorance of address/location Literacy level of LEP caller Concept of “address” to LEP callers Interpreters not familiar with street names in your jurisdiction
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 8 Key Issues #1: Problems with Address Interpreter Suggestions 1.If the dispatcher has address information, ask the interpreter to confirm it with the LEP caller. 2.Team up with interpreter to clarify data and work through available information. 3.Have LEP spell, rather than pronounce 4.Suggest finding a piece of mail 5.Use landmarks, descriptions to assist 6.Patience
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 9 Key Issue #2: Getting to the Point Major cultural difference with English English is a very direct language English speakers may be very direct. Other languages and cultures take a different approach, even during emergencies.
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 10 Key Issue #2: Getting to the Point Interpreter Suggestions 1.Ask the LEP to tell you “briefly” in 1 or 2 sentences 2.Instruct LEP at the beginning of the call: "Please, I know you are upset, but please try to be specific and brief with your answer.” 3.Explain that the speed of response depends on short, direct answers from the caller. 4.Ask “Yes” or “No” questions. 5.Patience. Indirect communication is a major cultural issue that must be worked through.
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 11 Key Issues: #3 Fear of Authorities History from countries of origin– government oppression, police corruption, intimidation Immediate immigration and deportation concerns from media and LEP community Fears may slow down collection of critical information
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 12 Interpreter Suggestions 1.Explain to LEP callers beforehand the reason you need the background information. 2.Maintain friendly, helpful tone with LEP callers. 3.Be respectful of LEP caller Key Issues: #3 Fear of Authorities
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 13 Key Issues: #4 Language and Dialect Regional dialects of major languages Spanish Arabic LEP callers using “second languages” Russian (former USSR) French (former colonies) Burmese (2 nd language for 135 native languages) Interpretation process complicated by accents, regional variations, LEP’s proficiency
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 14 Interpreter Suggestions 1.Trust interpreters skills 2.Maintain patience 3.Use simple language 4.Allow interpreter to clarify Key Issues: #4 Language and Dialect
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 15 Key Issues: #5 Knowledge of 911 911 service is a new concept to LEP caller 911 service in U.S. is different than home country LEP callers not always aware of the need for precise information
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 16 Possible solutions Educate and remind LEP callers about 911. “This is a service for emergencies.” Explain why you are asking the specific questions: “We need your address in case…” Key Issues: #6 Knowledge of 911
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 17 Key Issues: #6 Families “Children” “Brothers” and “Sisters” Surnames Family Ties Traditional roles of men and women
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 18 Key Issues: #6 Families Possible solutions Recognize cultural dynamics at work Ask for clarification, when needed Patience
© 2013 LanguageLine Solutions Confidential and Proprietary 19 We help the world communicate, one person at a time. Q&A Manny Solis Strategic Account Executive Phone:
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