10 Tips to Support Bilingualism in the Workplace

  • 26 avril 2019
  • Kayla Cardinal Lafrance

Important for your clients


  1. Client language rights

    It's always good practice to ask your clients if they speak more than one language and, if so, how that can be important for their best representation. When you suspect a client has acquired French before English as one of their spoken languages, make sure to ask them in which language they feel most comfortable communicating. Even though they speak English, it does not necessarily mean that they feel the most comfortable expressing themselves with an English vocabulary. This is especially true with multilingual people who may have learned French at an earlier age and English at a later age. Consider what language they feel more at ease to communicate emotions. The need to make arrangements for an interpreter or requesting a bilingual judge will be important issues to tackle as soon as possible.

  2. Client intake process and digitalization

    When taking on a client and entering their data in your firm's case management system, think about how you use the information to autogenerate documents. Think about the way the address will appear on mailing labels, or how the bills will be created. Can they be translated? If so, is it an easy transition? There are specific writing conventions that differ between French and English. These should be adapted to the receiving client for best and seamless service.

  3. Receptionist and other support staff

    Finding a perfectly bilingual receptionist is always ideal, but also simply knowing how to say "Hi/Bonjour" and "Un moment s'il vous plaît..." in order to transfer the francophone client to a French speaker is essential for bilingual service. These sentences are useful for everybody in a support role that deals with clients firsthand.*