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How to Ensure Cultural Sensitivity in Multilingual Communications

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The United States is often touted as one of the most culturally diverse countries, with as many as 430 languages spoken in the U.S. And while language is closely tied to one's culture, language services alone may not always signify cultural sensitivity within an organization. 

What Is Cultural Sensitivity?

Cultural sensitivity is formally defined as: 

"The awareness and appreciation of the values, norms, and beliefs characteristic of a cultural, ethnic, racial, or other group that is not one's own, accompanied by a willingness to adapt one's behavior accordingly." 

In simpler terms, being culturally sensitive and culturally aware means recognizing and valuing others and treating them the same even if they are not part of a more dominant culture. 

The Importance of Cultural Sensitivity When Providing Language Services 

Whether speaking of healthcare or otherwise, cultural sensitivity and language support must be a combined effort. Cultural sensitivity can be important for unique reasons in different sects or industries. However, in the healthcare setting, it may make the most profound difference. 

For insight, The National Center for Culture Competence states that cultural sensitivity is important in healthcare for six main reasons:

  1. To adapt to ongoing U.S. demographic changes 
  2. To overcome health disparities of people with diverse cultural or ethnic backgrounds 
  3. To enhance care quality and outcomes 
  4. To meet accreditation, legislative, or regulatory mandates 
  5. To reduce instances of medical malpractice and liability claims 
  6. To remain competitive in the healthcare market 

Individuals from more diverse cultures face health disparities and profound inequalities when it comes to public services. Providing adequate language services is undeniably a critical stepping stone in being more mindful of individuals from diverse cultures. However, cultural sensitivity goes far beyond offering a viable way for individuals with limited-English proficiency (LEP) to communicate. 

How to Ensure Your Organization Achieves Cultural Sensitivity With GLOBO 

GLOBO is a technology-driven language services provider (LSP) capable of offering everything from in-person, telephone, and video remote interpretation services to document translation services and custom language integrations. However, we strive to support cultural competency in our services as well. Take a look at how we ensure your organization achieves cultural sensitivity with our language support services. 

Language Support in Over 430 Languages

GLOBO provides language support in over 430 unique languages. From broadly spoken languages like Spanish and French to less common languages like Kachin and Papago, we strive to cover every client request for a qualified interpreter. 

Highly Qualified Linguists 

GLOBO has one of the most stringent onboarding processes when it comes to hiring linguists. Each interpreter must be language proficient at a native level in both English and the working language they provide. Further, each linguist must possess at least five years of interpreting experience. 

Being sensitive to an individual's culture means you are sensitive to their linguistic needs, but also other cultural elements like their:

  • Customs and beliefs
  • Values 
  • Cultural thought patterns 
  • Religious and spiritual beliefs 
  • Sociologic or socioeconomic characteristics and needs

These nuances are only well-understood by highly qualified linguists with native-level experience with a certain language. 

Going Beyond Translation With Transcreation and Localization

GLOBO offers everything from document translations to custom translations for websites and patient portals. And GLOBO goes beyond direct translation with transcreation and localization

Direct translation from one language to another does not always maintain the integrity of the message provided or come across as culturally sensitive. Localization adapts the language to the region, and transcreation ensures the tone, intent, style, and content are appropriate.  

Take a Step Toward Greater Cultural Sensitivity With Help From GLOBO

Are you ready to become a more culturally sensitive organization? Partnering with an LSP like GLOBO with a dedication to supporting cultural sensitivity is the best place to begin. Reach out to discuss your needs and concerns or schedule a free demo of our language support solutions today. 


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