Language Barriers

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Language Barriers
Communication is an essential part of our day to day lives. We use it in almost everything we do. Although effective communication does not guarantee success, its absence usually assures problems. In the U.S. language barriers can create many problems for non-English speaking immigrants that might include, but are certainly not limited to, difficulty finding employment, difficulty obtaining medical care, and difficulty achieving an education. Foreign-born workers are increasingly becoming a fundamental part of the community and the local workforce. The inflow of immigrants into the U.S. has provided both an opportunity for and a challenge to employers to fill many different positions. While many foreign-born workers have acculturated into the workforce, others find it more challenging to overcome language barriers that exist. Language barriers and misunderstandings commonly get in the way of effective communication and create problems in the workplace making it difficult for employers to hire foreign-born workers. An astonishing number of immigrants, refugees in particular, have a substantial amount of education and experience in their native country, but largely because of their limited English speaking abilities, their credentials and experience may not be recognized (Cultural and Language Barriers, 2002). Another major issue regarding language barriers is medical care. As immigration continues to progress, hospitals, clinics and health-care providers are increasingly confronted with language challenges that can discourage people from seeking medical care and can also lead to catastrophic errors in diagnoses and treatment procedures. Kaiser Health News interviewed Norma Chinchilla, a 26 year old Honduran immigrant. Chinchilla has been living in the U.S. for the past four years but does not speak English. Last year, she experienced the language barrier while trying to make an appointment over the phone for her 2-year-old son. She...
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