Two sides to a language barrier

Tony Hua
May 6, 2021

Growing up in an immigrant family, I intimately understood the struggles that my parents went through and faced as a result of language barriers. Recently, we started working closely with professionals that serve Limited-English Proficient (LEP) clients and and I became cognizant of a whole new set of issues due to language barriers.

Language barriers do not affect only the limited English clients, but they also adversely affect the professionals that they work with.

Working closely with attorneys and staff members at the Legal Aid Society in New York and the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, we recognize

pain points

Throughout the course of shadowing the attorneys and interviewing them, common pain points always came up related to language barriers: 

“Doesn’t make sense to spend 20 minutes coordinating a voice interpreter for a 5 question. Sometimes, outgoing messages go straight to voicemail too and I just waste a whole bunch of time and time.”

“Dialing a translation line is time-consuming and expensive, for both parties.”

“Immigration attorneys that also speak Haitian-Creole are really difficult to hire.”

There are plenty of other issues but those are just a few highlights. My main takeaway from the learning is, professionals needed help overcoming language barriers too and that's why we designed Viva Translate.