Last updated on June 30th, 2020 at 05:08 pm
On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Chicago, IL entered Phase 3 of the COVID-19 reopening effort. Phase 3 cautiously loosened restrictions on businesses and leisure activities that were set in place during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Chicago and around the United States. Some examples of industries that got back to work at their own pace included office-based jobs, hotels, manufacturing, construction, and warehousing, as well as outdoor dining at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
Today, June 26, 2020, Chicago is now entering Phase 4 of Reopening. Phase 4 will be in effect until there is a vaccine, effective and widely available treatment, or the elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time. Phase 4 means businesses and public facilities, including gyms and indoor dining at restaurants, will be allowed to reopen with limited capacities. Phase 4 is the final phase that Chicago will go through before a full reopening post-pandemic.
While phase 4 is welcomed by many, it is important to remember that many members of the Chicago community do not speak English as a first language, and that language barriers can cause confusion for business owners, employees, and customers alike. While restrictions have loosened, there are still rules in place that are essential to be communicated effectively to ensure the safest reopening possible as the city gets back to work and back to play.
Some examples where we have seen businesses ensure guidelines are understood and being followed by all are handbook translation, policy translation, as well as offering services like remote and over the phone interpretation to support other languages in the community.
Another important area where we have seen an increase in the demand for translation services in Chicago is for the government at a local and federal level; the administration needs to make sure all community members understand rules and regulations for the reopening process.
JR Language has been helping our clients meet compliance during reopening by providing translation services of important internal and external documents of new guidelines that must be followed as Chicago reopens. Documents range from large internal policy documentation distributed throughout the entire company to small signs that are posted in storefronts to make all aware of new rules in effect such as social distancing and mask policies.
For companies that employ people who do not have English as a first language, it is of utmost importance to have new policies be professionally translated into their native languages so that guidelines can be fully understood and followed. If new policies are only outlined in English, the risks associated with reopening are not being fully mitigated, and serious consequences can follow. We have already seen news stories where these consequences have come into play, such as the meatpacking plant in South Dakota where 40 different languages were spoken by employees, but informational documentation about COVID-19 was only provided in English. The CDC has acknowledged that the failure to communicate by the plant may be part of the reason by which over 750 employees tested positive for the virus. Translating critical documents so that all employees can read them and practice the new guidelines set in place is one way to help diminish the risk associated with reopening while the COVD-19 pandemic continues.
An additional method that is being used by businesses to ensure effective communication while reopening is the use of professional interpretation services.
JR Language can help with video remote interpreting as well as on-demand phone interpretation to provide accurate, and at the same time social distance, in an interpretation during the reopening phase.
One area where video remote interpretation can come into play during the reopening phase is for company-wide meetings where policies are outlined for all prior to going back to work. Simultaneous interpretation makes these meetings available to employees who may not speak English. On the popular platform Zoom, up to 6 languages can be interpreted simultaneously.
JR Language will continue providing remote interpreters during reopening as well as after the reopening phase is complete for all clients who prefer to handle their meetings remotely as there are many benefits of remote interpreting besides the social distancing aspect.
Another area where our translation company can help with interpretation during reopening is with our on-demand phone interpretation service. The service is available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day in over 150 different languages. The on-demand nature of the service allows consecutive interpretation to take place at the drop of a hat, making it an ideal service for helping customers while they are in your store, office, or notifying employees of last-minute updates or changes. Additionally, the service is HIPAA compliant and interpreters are trained and tested annually on medical terminology, making the service a great option for medical and dentist offices that are now also reopening.
With the reopening of phase 4 in Chicago, onsite interpretation will also be making a return and is another way JR Language can help overcome the language barrier. While conferences and large-scale events are still a ways away in terms of returning, smaller meetings such as business meetings, and depositions will begin resuming again and JR Language is prepared to help in-person while maintaining social distance requirements. While the number of onsite interpretations is still low, we still advise providing JR Language with one week of lead time for all onsite requests as many of our interpreters are busy with remote interpretation assignments.
JR Language looks forward to helping with the translation of important guideline materials, as well as providing professional interpreters to help ensure that our clients are able to effectively communicate reopening guidelines and policies with their employees and customers as Chicago begins to move forward within this “new normal”.
This “new normal” will present challenges, but our translation and interpretation company will be here ready and with you every step of the way. We are ready and reinforcing our commitment to providing language solutions to help businesses come through this difficult time stronger and ready for what lies ahead.