Have you ever found yourself listening to a group of people speaking another language that you don’t understand? At first, curiosity kicks in and you simply speculate as to what they are saying. But then a few of them laugh and your insecurities surface. Our imaginations tend to run wild at times. “Are they laughing and talking about me?” you might think.
The scenario just described results in a terrible feeling. Chances are that the conversation has nothing to do with you, but you have no way to confirm that. Now reverse the scenario. In the United States, Hispanics comprise the largest minority. There are many more language groups as well. In the South Carolina Upstate, Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Vietnamese are spoken.
Visualize a company meeting. The presentation focuses on some benefits and safety reminders. Though the information is important, employees lacking English skills do not fully understand. Then a joke is told, and employees are seen laughing, but the limited English proficient (LEP) employees sit and wonder. Not only might they be missing vital information, but they also might be suffering from an active imagination. Perhaps they perceive mistreatment from a group of people laughing who may simply be telling a story about what happened to them over the weekend.
Now visualize that as each employee enters the room, the LEP employees receive a receiver with a set of headphones. They wear the headphones. The speaker begins the meeting and as he speaks, all the employees with headphones can hear everything being said in their language. In fact, not only do they obtain all the vital information that their coworkers obtain, but they also truly feel included. They sense that they are valued team members. Additionally, mystery of what is being said now vanishes. When you hear the message in your language, the fear that others are talking about you is gone. Employee morale increases as well as production.
All of this comes because of the use of great simultaneous or conference interpreters and the equipment. The employer’s investment yields great value because the money spent on the conference interpreting is offset by the fact that the entire crew returns to work in half the time. Factor in that the employees are happier and understand and take to heart the safety reminders and the value is even greater.