language access

Language Access And How It Works

(Last Updated On: July 30, 2020)

A lot of our life depend on interactions with others. Some people might tell you that being alone is fun, and it is sometimes but that doesn’t mean we can survive without people. Even saying hi to your neighbor in the morning is something that becomes a part of your routine and gives you a sense of belonging. Without interactions we would all be very lost. We don’t even need meaningful interactions at all times, as is evident by the many inside jokes we have with our friends and siblings. Just a single word can make us laugh for five minutes because it reminds us of something that is only funny to us and our friend.

Each interaction and conversation we have with others mean something to us. Sometimes we reach out to people because we want company. We want someone to listen to us talk about insignificant things. Sometimes we sought out company because we need human beings. We need someone to be there for us while we deal with a trauma or a heartbreak. This is why you tell your friends, “I am here if you need to talk”. Even if we don’t admit it to ourselves, talking with friends help us a lot.

But talking in general help us too. Whenever we are in trouble at school, teachers tell us to talk it out with the bully. Even if it doesn’t work out, we are taught that talking is important. This helps us to talk things out with people later in life no matter how big the fight is. It helps us in our personal and professional relationships. If you ever make a mistake at work, talking about it with your employer will help more than hiding yourself in the bathroom. There are many moments of crisis that everybody has to face in life, but sometimes the solution is simple enough.

language access

Homeland Security:

If you witness a crime or was forced to help someone commit a felony against the state, you can solve the issue pretty easily: by talking about it with Homeland Security. There are all kinds of matters that the department handles and if you are willing to talk about them, you can get yourself out of trouble pretty easily.

You may have seen people getting in trouble in TV shows but life isn’t like that. You write your own story and your decisions will impact your future. So, if you decide to talk about something, you will change your story. But it isn’t always easy to talk to the Department of Homeland Security, especially if you are a person with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

Language Access:

Over twenty percent people in the US come from backgrounds where English isn’t the primary language. Out of all of these people, more than forty percent cannot speak English very well. The people who speak English less than very well have LEP. Since the Department of Homeland Security deals with people from all backgrounds, they often come in contact with persons who don’t speak English very well. LEP can cause problems for the conversation that is supposed to happen between a person and an agent of the department.

language access

The department relies heavily on useful information provided by people but that can be a problem when there is a language barrier. Incorrect information is not a thing that can be tolerated in sensitive matters, which is why actions have been taken to make the process of communication better.

To improve the process of information sharing, the department has come up with the Language Access Plan. The plan includes steps for providing useful access to the people with LEP.

How Does It Work?

The language access plan resulted in the implementation of the Executive Order 13166. The executive order guides the department to improve access to services for people with LEP. When the person who cannot speak English very well has access to better interpretive services, they will be able to communicate their message in an accurate way.

Multiple steps were suggested by the plan to improve the process of communication. Utilizing better services to improve the missions and projects of the department was the ultimate goal. When people have the option to communicate with the help of interpreters or there is a better conversation system in place for them, they can give information more confidently.

The plan also includes guidelines and source material for the people of the department who have to interact with individuals who can’t speak English. They can use the source material to figure out which language a person speaks and then carry on the conversation in that tongue with the help of a guide or an interpreter. There is also a protocol for agents that can help them identify persons with LEP. Once they have identified the person with LEP, they can take assistance from the guidelines about how to request language services.

The source material available for the employees will help them develop an understanding of how to effectively engage with a person who can’t speak English. The employees will also become better at handling such situations with practice and the language access plan will be there to guide them throughout the process. This plan of the department will only result in positive things for everyone involved in the conversation regarding national security. It will also improve the overall performance of the Department of Homeland Security.



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