People with Limited English Proficiency

Definitions and Strategies

 

  • Linguistic competence is a key component of cultural competence. On an operational level, it entails providing readily available, culturally appropriate oral and written language services to limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals through such means as bilingual/bicultural staff, trained medical interpreters, and qualified translators,” among other practices.
     
  • Culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) are respectful of and responsive to cultural needs. In other words, culturally and linguistically competent practitioners, systems, and policies yield culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
     
  • Provide easy to understand print and multimedia materials and signage in the languages commonly used by the populations in the service area.
     
  • Maintain knowledge regarding the cultural composition of targeted client populations, including preferred languages, and tailor services to maximize client access and outcomes.
     
  • Engage clients from various cultural groups in development and evaluation of service delivery systems.
     
  • Inform all individuals of the availability of language assistance services clearly and in their preferred language, verbally and in writing.
     
  • Ensure the competence of individuals providing language assistance, recognizing that the use of untrained individuals and/or minors as interpreters should be avoided.
     

Portions of the above adapted from the following:

National Transitions of Care Coalition (2009). Cultural competence: Essential ingredient for successful transitions of care. Retrieved on September 10, 2013 from: http://www.ntocc.org/Portals/0/PDF/Resources/CulturalCompetence.pdf.

Resources

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