We are repeatedly told that communication is key, yet many businesses overlook a common communication barrier: language. Language barriers are challenging for everyone involved because they cause misunderstandings and misinterpretations and often have a greater impact than many people realize.
Understanding Emotional Reactions
At some point in time, most of us have encountered a situation when someone tried to communicate in a language we did not speak. It could have been something simple like directions, but you were unable to understand, even when you tried decoding their facial expressions and hand gestures. Take a moment to reflect on how you felt; did you feel a shift in your emotions?
Now imagine you have a meeting with a potential client who does not speak your language or is deaf or hard of hearing. Look at the situation from their perspective. What emotions would they be combating before, during, and after the meeting? What if it was a high-stress situation, such as a healthcare visit?
It is natural for human interactions to bring out emotions, both positive and negative. As you have probably realized, unaddressed language barriers bring out a variety of negative emotions. If your company serves limited English proficiency (LEP) customers but does not provide them with effective language solutions, it can trigger emotional barriers, making communication more difficult and decreasing customer satisfaction.
Effects of Emotional Barriers
Emotional barriers can cause your customers to have a variety of reactions, including avoiding further communication, withdrawing from the situation, and seeking out a competitor who may be more prepared to meet their needs.
Your customers are your top priority, and it is your responsibility to put them at ease, build trust, and show them you care. For your LEP customers, this means providing language solutions like qualified interpreters to eliminate barriers to communication.
Break Emotional Barriers with Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Video remote interpreting (VRI) services provide the immediacy of face-to-face interpreting and the flexibility of over-the-phone sessions, allowing LEP, deaf or hard-of-hearing customers to connect and communicate better with your organization.
VRI is a great language solution because it delivers a more human connection than other interpretation alternatives. It also allows all parties to not only receive interpreted communications but also view the speaker’s body language and facial expressions. Having this technology readily available for your customers shows that you are proactive, you can support their unique needs, and that your organization values strong, long-lasting relationships.
Other interpreting services, depending on your customer's needs, are also effective. However, from a business standpoint, it’s important to point out that Google Assistant interpreter mode and Google Translate are not good solutions for your document translation needs. Instead, your company should be looking into a language service provider who specializes in your industry and has a proven history of delivering accurate interpretations and translations.