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  • Writer's pictureShelley Purchon

Your three pronged approach

Updated: May 27, 2021

There are three ways to transcend a language barrier and two of them do not incur operating costs. Is your organisation doing all it can to engage with non English speaking clients?

Every organisation which has clients from overseas needs a plan of action for overcoming language barriers. Few organisations understand that interpreting services are merely one strand of this. Furthermore, interpreting services work better if staff have been trained how to use them.

Are you missing a trick?

With our help your non English speaking clients can become more reachable, the working lives of your staff less stressful, and your available funds can have a greater impact. We use workplace training to widen the skills of your front facing staff so that they can confidently respond to all your clients, including the ones who are learning English as a second or other language.

Interpreters are essential.

There should be three strands to your plan of action. If your staff have not yet been trained in the use of all three, then they are effectively making it up as they go along. They may be committing commonplace mistakes when they use an interpreter which reduce the interpreter's ability to do their job with sensitivity, accuracy and in a timely manner.

The right tool for the right job.

There are the three resources which all front facing staff ought to be using with skill. None of them is right for every situation, and for best results everyone on the team should be trained in all three. Staff also need to know which tool (or combination of tools) is right for the situation they find themselves in.

Three resources (only one of which has operating costs.)

1. Themselves.

There is a knack to speaking slowly and clearly, and most people can improve in this respect. Here’s the problem. If you slow down more than is required your client can feel patronised. On the other hand if you speak at natural speed it will sound like a bewildering stream of noise. English Unlocked training enables staff to modify their speaking style in a way that’s just right for each client. Click here to learn more about the course. Once you’ve trained your team they become a base level competent resource without any extra operational costs. These workplace skills do not replace the need for interpreters but they complement interpreting services beautifully.

2. Online translation tools.

If your staff are regularly faced with a language barrier you can bet they are using Google Translate already, whether head office has sanctioned it or not. It can be an invaluable tool in impromptu situations but often it is not the appropriate choice. When are you happy for your team to use online tools and when should they call in a professional? Does everyone know? Strand two consists of adopting a clear position on this matter (we will help), and informing employees what that is. The bespoke training solution which we develop together will also include tips on how to avoid mistranslation through prudent word choice, and what the technology currently has to offer. Remember - if you haven't coached your team how to communicate in impromptu situations you can't turn around and get annoyed with them when mistakes occur.

3. Interpreting services.

If you invested in an expensive piece of technology, would you bother training staff to use it? If the answer to this question is ‘Of course’, then let me ask you this. Have you trained your team to use interpreters? Think of them as a living, breathing technology. There are a number of simple mistakes which your employees may be making if they have never been shown the right way (read more here.) Interpreters are paid by the hour (sometimes by the minute.) Doesn't it make good financial sense to make sure that staff are using this invaluable resource in a time efficient manner?


Established in 2018, English Unlocked workplace training and consultancy provides a unique service. No other company takes such a broad approach. Ours is the only training solution which equips companies to overcome language barriers in these three ways.

Don't be left behind.

Work with English Unlocked to develop a tailor made strategy for your organisation. Language barriers are here to stay - let's work together to find creative ways to overcome them. Contact us today to find out about course availability for your staff. To buy a ticket to an upcoming course click here.

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