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Eva Hussain - Polaron Language Services: Providing culturally competent and language appropriate crisis services

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Eva Hussain, CEO, Polaron Language Services delivered this presentation at the 2014 National Emergency Relief Summit in Sydney/Australia. The two day conference assessed the current systems around service delivery and the challenges that arise around services dedicated to providing material and financial aid, employment, food, housing, addiction relief, transport help and domestic violence support. For more information about the event, please visit the conference website

Text of Eva Hussain - Polaron Language Services: Providing culturally competent and language appropriate...

  • 1. Providing culturally competent & language appropriate crisis servicesEva Hussain, CEO Polaron Language Services

2. 3. Is this the only time we hear about CALD people?Research is scant. Statistics are fragmented. Perceptions and assumptions get in the 4. 2 truths and 1 lie I am Jewish I converted to Islam in 1986 I am a grandmother Which one is a lie? 5. Does any of it matter?Why? Why not? 6. What if the only thing you knew about me is my surname? How would you go about providing culturally and linguistically appropriate crisis services to me? (with the best of intentions) 7. 8. More about me Arrived in Australia in 1986. No money, no English, no idea. The violence and poverty cycle. My mixer. 9. 10. Impact of cultural diversity on practice Resources and time. Training. Working with interpreters and translating materials. Innovative and flexible. Understanding the impact of immigration. Working with different family structures, cultures, languages. Treating people as 11. What is CALD? Everybody? Groups and individuals who differ according to religion, race, language and ethnicity (exc. Anglo-Saxon & Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background people). Key Indicators: Born in a non-English speaking country Speaks a language other than English at home Low proficiency in English Born in Australia with at least one parent who was born overseas in a non-English speaking country 12. Cultural Diversity in Australia In 1945, our population was 7 million, with 90% born here. Today, our population is 22.7 million, with 22% born overseas. Since 1945, ~7 M people have come to here from 230 countries. ~16% of us speak a language other than English at home. 200+ languages are spoken in Australia. 100+ religions are practiced. Indigenous people make up 2.5% of the population. AUSLAN is the main language of 7000+ 13. Experiences of CALD communities CALD communities are diverse and services need to account for and respect the differences between communities and their needs. There is no one size fits all approach. People from CALD communities may experience a range of barriers and difficulties in dealing with services. They may relate to grief, trauma and loss associated with experiences in Australia or their country of origin. Cultural and language barriers, fear of breaches of confidentiality and stigmatisation may also affect willingness and ability to work with service 14. Research indicates that CALD communities may Lack knowledge of their rights and responsibilities in Australia. Lack knowledge about the roles of different services. Have low literacy levels in their own language. Have difficulty communicating in English. Be low in numbers but have very high needs. Have evolving needs. Experience lack of family, social and community supports. Be at a socioeconomic disadvantage. Be not familiar with the services range and 15. What is language? Systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols. A language family is a group of languages related by descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language. Evidence of relationship is observable by shared features. The difference between a language and a dialect can be political rather than linguistic. There are over 100 language families in the 16. What is culture? Many views and definitions. Peoples way of life. Integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behaviour. Outlook, attitudes, values, morals, and customs shared by a society. It affects how we think and feel, how we learn, what we consider right or wrong, beautiful or ugly. It's a sum total of our life experiences and learned behaviours. It's not 17. 2011 - biggest increase in people born in : India (up 200,000), China (176,200) and New Zealand (127,700). 2011 - largest decreases in people born in: Italy (less 33,300), Greece (16,500) and Poland (9,400) 18. English Proficiency Language% who are not proficient in 19. Humanitarian Entrants 2002-2011 Iraq Sudan Afghanistan Burma Sri Lanka Ethiopia Thailand Liberia Sierra Leone China TOTAL22,112 21,335 15,395 10,599 3,649 3,398 3,250 3,054 2,938 2,881 133, 20. Fastest growing languages Acholi Shona Mauritian Creole Akan Zulu Malayam Telugu Swahili Gujarati Afrikaans Amharic Nepali Oromo Marathi 21. Information dissemination Consider format print, audio or visual. Consider interpreters, bilingual workers, community workers. Boundaries. Identify main outlets used to source information by the target community. Consider how to address the issues of poor literacy and education of some communities. Consider most effective means of communication with newly arrived and emerging communities with fewer community 22. Why use plain English? Its inclusive and breaks down communication barriers. It engages people and leads to better understanding, listening and learning. It shifts the power and authority barrier between client and worker by relating to the client as an equal partner. It places the worker in the role of partner or guide. Allows people to be active participants in the 23. Plain EnglishYou will need to sit her up during mealtimes so she doesnt aspirateShe will need to sit up when shes eating or drinking to make sure food does not go into her 24. Best practice when working with interpreters Where possible, work with NAATI accredited interpreters. Where possible, maintain continuity. Do not use children, relatives and unqualified bi-lingual staff as interpreters. Stress confidentiality. Use plain English, avoid jargon. Remain flexible but in control of the interview. Develop a professional partnership with the 25. Best practice when working with interpreters Prepare prior to the interview with a list of questions. Allow more time than usual. Decide if an interpreter is needed (how?). Brief the interpreter. Ensure appropriate environment and seating. Explain purpose of the interview and interpreters role Maintain control of interview. Manage challenging aspects and dynamics of the interview. Stop the interview if it isnt working. Manage feedback. 26. When to engage an interpreter When the client requests one. At the point of entry into the service, when undertaking assessment and review. When essential information needs to be communicated. Whenever any party assess that the client may be disadvantaged without one. When the client is required to make informed decision. When explaining the details of the service and options. For feedback and complaints. For risk assessment and 27. Interpreter Should interpret everything that is being said (making participants linguistically present). Aims to facilitate communication so that you are communicating effectively with your client. Seeks clarification when necessary. Should take notes. Is not a cultural broker or an advocate. Follows the AUSIT Code of Ethics: accuracy, confidentiality, impartiality are paramount. Keeps exchanges 28. Why do we translate? We do it because some people in Australia are CALD. We do it because we think its a good idea. We do it because somebody thinks its a good idea. We do it because weve received funding. We do it because it has landed on our desk. We do it because no one else wants to do 29. How do we translate? Do we plan and budget for translation? Who makes the decision and how is it made? How well informed is the decision maker? Who do we get to do the translation? How do we know translation is of good quality? How do we know that its done its job? 30. Translations Preparation will save time and money. Write in plain English. Keep your sentences short - up to 20 words. Be concise and imagine you are talking to your reader. Provide context for your main ideas. e.g. Intake Officer. Avoid jargon, abbreviations, slang. Advise the translator of the purpose of the translation. Are your translations going to be printed? Are they going to be posted on line? 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. Recommendations Dont do it for the sake of doing it. Unless you are sure people will be able to read it. Unless you are sure its not been translated elsewhere. Dont translate glossy brochures. Please.Prioritise what needs to be translated. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Ensure that important documents that require clients consent, service standards, rights and responsibilities, advocacy information, etc. are translated first. Identify other organisations you might be able to share the cost with.Learn about the community. Seek information from multiple sources. Use translation as the first step. Talk to the 38. Recommendations Plan, prepare and budget. Address the needs of your community. Read and learn. Ask questions. Prepare glossaries. Have a budget. Develop partnerships with community leaders.Choose languages wisely