Language Competence In Social Service

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In recent decades, immigrants from Latin American countries have received much attention in the media. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 showed that the Hispanic population is a fast growing people group (Hicks 2012). In addition to their growth in numbers, literature shows that Hispanics and Latinos are becoming increasingly influential in social trends (Arredondo, Gallardo-Cooper, Delgado-Romero, & Zapata 2014). Nonetheless, this group faces many barriers to social services in various sectors. In order to be competent in its practice, the social work profession must shift more attention to becoming familiar with how to best practice with these immigrants and their families. Importance of Language Competence The biggest barrier to competent…show more content…
One study focused on the fact that while there are practitioners who report being able to speak Spanish, they learned their social work skills in English and do not receive Spanish supervision (Arriaza, 2015). This reflects a gap in the level of services provided for Spanish-speakers because of the nuance that is involved in properly translating ideas into a different language. Even if a practitioner is able to meaningfully translate for one client, regional differences in language could change the meaning for another client. Thus supervision and evaluation of Spanish proficiency is essential to providing quality services to Hispanic clients. Still, providing translation services does not ensure that the interventions used are culturally competent. In order to ensure cultural competency, a practitioner must have a greater understanding of both the cultural norms and values of a client, and of the other societal aspects that affect the…show more content…
There is a detailed process in ensuring that interventions are translated well and are culturally competent, while simultaneously making sure that they produce the same desired effect of the original intervention. The process of effectively making these changes is extensive and requires the collaboration of various agents (Rodríguez, Baumann, & Schwartz, 2011). Regardless of the time and efforts that go into culturally adapting these tools, both quantitative and qualitative studies show that clients desire to have culturally competent, yet relevant

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