Language is the ultimate form of expression. It comes in many forms, like love, art, and sign, that we use each day to show how we feel. In fact, the Supreme Court made it necessary for federally-funded programs and institutions to provide language services in the the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This means all Americans have the right to language-specific services in a the public realm because language remains the ultimate equalizer.
Interpretation is a vital part of equaling the playing feel for new Americans. The IRCM sees how a translator may change a tense situation between a lawyer and their client or a parent and a teacher on a regular basis. The interpreter, much like a cultural broker, serves as a language and cultural bridge for two parties. These language brokers can make all the difference by not only translating one's words, but also translating one's culturally-specific gestures and tone.
Having access to such resources is a civil right that often goes overlooked. This means public servants may see a language barrier as a character flaw, instead of a simple hurdle to get over. For instance, if a new immigrant speaks another primary language instead of English, they're deemed unintelligent or uncivilized by American mainstream society. This harsh reality is seen in the harassment of Spanish-speakers in Texas and Somali-speakers in Maine. Based on these experiences, we can see that language barriers can lead to discrimination in the public sphere. The only way to prevent this
If millions of multilingual Americans were able to receive the language tools they need, the country and its institutions will become a more equitable place. The IRCM is doing our part to make sure immigrants and refugees have the access they need. Keep a look out for future posts about our language services and other relevant stories in the near future.