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Understanding your rights as a foreign worker

When English isn't your first language, there is a risk of miscommunication at all stages of a personal injury claim. Whether you're hurt at work or when walking down the street, you may say or do things that are misunderstood. You may not understand how to explain the issues you have or fully grasp what documentation you receive is telling you.

As such, there are some things you can do to help guarantee that you're understood. Here are a few tips.

1. When you're hurt, get a translator

When you're hurt, hospitals will likely get a translator on the phone (or pulled from staff) to help the medical provider get information from you and to give information to you. There are many locations in which this is common, with translation services on standby. If all else fails, a translator, like Google Translate, can get your point across so long as you enter the text in simple sentences.

2. Request a bilingual attorney, police officer or another individual to discuss your case with you

If you need to make a report to the police, it's perfectly acceptable to ask if anyone speaks your language who can help. Whether it's Mandarin, Spanish or another language, the likelihood is that there is at least one officer, attorney or another professional who can speak your language fluently. If not, it's wise to ask for a translation service to help. Whenever anyone translates for you, ask for a printout of what was said so you can make corrections if necessary.

3. Wait to talk if you aren't being understood

Not being understood can be a problem in cases where a person is hurt or attempting to make a claim. Don't keep trying to make yourself understood or attempt to agree to things you don't understand. Always wait for a translator or work with someone who understands your language fluently. If you don't, you could find the entire process trying and find out that what you intended to say is not the point you got across to the other person.

A good translation service is necessary for workplaces, hospitals, police stations and attorneys' offices. Bilingual support is a necessity that provides everyone, no matter the language they speak, the ability to explain themselves and express themselves in the way they intend and can fully express in their own words.

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