English-only workplaces spark lawsuits

This article addresses the legality of English-only policies in the workplace. Such policies open employers to being sued for discrimination, but perhaps more importantly, they create an environment of intolerance and can lower employee morale. As Ronna Timpa notes, “Imagine how you would feel if you couldn’t speak your own language in the bathroom.” Some […]

Como se dice? Break down the language barrier between you and your employees

This article describes the efforts to improve communication in the workplace through job-specific language training. Non-English-speaking workers may have difficulty understanding safety warnings, company policies, product specifications and other important communications. That, in turn, can raise safety concerns and insurance costs, lead to run-ins with regulators, promote poor quality, and generally make an owner or […]

When Spanish at Work Causes Conflict: What Should Employers Do?

A common question among employers is what to do about Spanish-speaking employees who use Spanish among each other at work, leaving the those who don’t know Spanish in the dark. LatPro provides advice on this topic. Q: “I have several bilingual employees who speak Spanish at work among themselves. Most of my workers speak little […]

Survey: Hispanics Professionals Say Future Looks Bright

With each generation in the US, Latinos are finding more career opportunities – in part because of their culture and language skills. HispanicBusiness cites the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE) 2007 Latino Professional Pulse Survey. Hispanic professionals are better educated than their parents, optimistic about their future and generally younger than their non-Hispanic counterparts, […]

For Hispanics, think beyond language

As this article notes, language use and language preference varies dramatically based on generation in the US and level of acculturation. When it comes to reaching Hispanics, using Spanish-language advertising might seem like a no-brainer. But according to a new study from Simmons Research, a New York-based tracker of consumer behavior, that’s not necessarily the […]

Linguistic follies

In this article in the Economist, the author describes the somewhat suprising down-side of English as the global language of business: that it may hurt business by making it difficult to find speakers of “less glamorous European languages”. IN RECENT years Brussels has been a fine place to observe the irresistible rise of English as […]

English Spanish translation challenges local offices

Here is another story about the challenges of and need for providing professional translation. I cut the story down, but you can read the entire article here. There were two paragraphs that need to be pulled out that speak to the importance of professional translators: A cursory survey of documents provided in Spanish by various […]

Candidates lost in Chinese translation

How about this problem… Translating English candidate’s names into Chinese characters so that non-English speakers can vote without assistance. However, transliterated Chinese characters can have various, and sometime unpleasant meanings. Quality translation is important, and not just for presidential candidates. Hope Chu of the Organization of Chinese Americans says hers is a tonal language in […]

The futility of classifying ourselves by race

What does it mean to be Latino of African-American? The author of this article rightly notes that many people, rather than identifying themselves with just one racial or ethnic identity, instead feel that they belong to three: their mother’s, their father’s and their own unique blend of heritage and experience. For most people, that’s fine […]

Spanish Language Skills Are a Double-Edged Sword

Cultural barriers in the workplace occur at all levels, from entry-level employees to the top of the company. This article on Monster.com speaks well to the challenges of hiring employees when we don’t understand how to probe the language and cultural skills that potential employees bring to the hiring process. Spanish Language Skills Are a […]

Immigrant Disease

We can all use a good laugh…

Latinos' growing clout has seized candidates' notice

With the rising influence of the Latino worker means a greater need for awareness and understanding of cultural and language issues. Latinos’ growing clout has seized candidates’ notice | Chicago Tribune WASHINGTON — Until this summer, the cooks, waiters and housekeepers of Las Vegas usually didn’t see many contenders for the White House until well […]

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