In a recent event in Costa Rica, on the human rights of migrants at the borders – “Human Rights for people on the move: intersections”, in this case on the border between Mexico and the United States, when we were providing the service of Face-to-face simultaneous interpretation English <> Spanish, with our simultaneous interpretation system/equipment and interpreters, we had the opportunity to hear a phrase referring to linguistic discrimination and the impact of the language barrier for these communities and migrant flows:
The person who mentioned it is a leader of the ancestral indigenous peoples of Mexico and the northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).
She was speaking about the critical aspect of the language and the ability to communicate in a dignified manner in their own language or language and according to their culture. A person who cannot communicate in English or Spanish, in the case of the border mentioned above, or in both languages and whose culture and worldview are not respected, at a border, in a migration process, is completely violated, “ceases to exist” – loses all rights, does not understand what is happening and has no access to communication.
The presenter also mentioned that there is no formal system to support the different communities and ethnic groups in this process, provided by the authorities of the countries involved in the migratory flow, with professional and native language interpretation (oral translation) services. It is usually done by people who speak English and/or Spanish and one of the native languages, but without being expert professional interpreters who are fluent in the specific culture and language/language of each of the migrants. Worse still, in the case of deaf people, who do not have access to personalized attention with a Sign Language interpreter, even more so considering that Sign Language is a culture in itself, and depends on each community. That is, there is no Universal Sign Language. In each culture or community it is different.
This intervention seemed very appropriate to us and it made us meditate on this problem that every day becomes more evident in a world where forced migration caused by political, social, economic or climatic reasons will increase vertiginously in the future, especially due to the effect of climate crises. The negative impact and violation of human rights will worsen to such an extent, due to massive migrations, that there are already initiatives in several countries to create language interpretation assistance systems within public assistance frameworks, supported by the state.
At LingoCall we firmly believe in the need to avoid language barriers and ensure the human rights of all people to be able to communicate in their own language and according to their culture.
On the other hand, and related to the imminent crises that will affect humanity in the following decades and with the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDG 2030), the UN itself has identified that the language barrier is one of the main obstacles to compliance with these SDG 2030 objectives (Read more… https://www.un.org/es/cr%C3%B3nica-onu/romper-las-barreras-de-babel-por-qu%C3%A9-la- translation-is-fundamental-to-achieve-peace-y)
On the other hand, access to multicultural and multilingual education for people on the move and their children is another important problem, especially when they have already migrated and reside in their new destination.
According to UNESCO, in its article How can we avoid the language barriers that hinder the learning of people on the move? – One in five students have a migration background in OECD countries, leading to multilingual/multicultural classrooms. However, on average, only half of immigrants receive language support in OECD countries. Arriving in a new country and suddenly sitting in a new room should feel foreign enough without having to navigate, plus learning a new language without support.
Source: https://world-education-blog.org/es/2020/02/24/como-podemos-evitar-las-barreras-linguisticas-que-frenan-el-aprendizaje-de-las-personas-en- motion/
Finally, at LingoCall we are here to serve communities, entities, institutions and all types of organizations that wish to help remedy the language barrier and contribute to the sustainable and equitable development of communities in mobility.