Equity, Dignity, Transformation
In our January 2023 newsletter, we talked about the values of Access Language Solutions: Purpose, Professionalism, and Preparedness. This month, we discuss what Access Language Solutions stands for.
There’s the old phrase, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” and that holds true in all facets of life, including business. In the non-profit world, there is often talk of something called mission creep. It’s easy to say yes to more clients and more projects, but it’s very important to stay true to the mission, which often involves using the organization’s resources wisely and strategically. Some well-meaning folks suggest we spend our time (the organization’s most precious resource) pursuing all clients regardless of whether they are a good fit. Business is business, after all, right? But our mission dictates the pursuit of what we call “soulmate” clients. These are the clients who share our values and what we stand for.
We stand for equity.
Within the services we provide, there is a power imbalance. Even though both the provider of service and their client need language support, the latter is marginalized since they are not able to fully participate in the provider’s offerings due to a lack of fluency in the dominant language. The interpreting and translating services provided by Access Language Solutions help even out the playing field and bring a measure of equity to the table. Giving a voice to the marginalized is something we are proud to offer.
We stand for dignity.
Giving someone the chance to express themselves in their own language restores and maintains the dignity of a person. When we take away language, we take away a person’s culture and, in some ways, the very essence of their being. For anyone who has ever taken on learning another language, there is often a period of just “trying to catch up.” Jokes, street language, people talking too fast. Most of your mental energy is used up just by getting the gist of what is being said. Imagine this but in high-stakes situations: medical, legal, court, government, immigration, education, and social services. As a person fluent in the dominant language, where would you like to receive only a portion of the vital information? How much of your dignity would be compromised in such situations?
We stand for transformation.
This is perhaps the most exciting concept of all. Imagine what language, the right language, can do. When a patient truly understands their diagnosis, they can make informed decisions about the course of their life. A refugee or an asylee can earn immigration status. The accused can understand their rights, and a defense can be prepared. Parents can participate in the education of their children. There are many things we take for granted as members of the dominant language group. Language access supports transformation many times in small ways that we hardly notice, but sometimes in very big instances.
Here at Access Language Solutions, our soulmate clients understand these concepts and have built business models and organizations around them. If your organization stands for equity, dignity, and transformation like we do and you are not already a client, visit us at www.accesslanguagesolutions.org and let’s chat.