Basically, we will be able to perceive a somewhat different environment or world when your staff or you speak a different language. It is estimated that more than half of our world’s population is exposed to bilingualism. In fact, about three and a half billion people use more than one language for communication purposes every day. Canada is no different from the rest of the world; Chinese Canadians are an ethnic group that consists of full or partial Chinese living in Canada. There is a huge Chinese community in Canada, making up to 1.3 million people in Canada’s population as of 2006.
There are several benefits associated with speaking other languages and most of them suggest an increase in the ability to multi-task, focus as well as cognitive processing. In fact, these benefits are more personal and concrete to people who identify themselves as multilingual or bilingual. Below are some of the benefits of Cantonese-speaking staff in dental clinics and being able to speak other languages in general.
Some English words don’t exist in Cantonese vocabulary
It is widely known that some multilingual individuals possess multiple personalities and can act differently when speaking in different languages. We have to believe in this theory because some words simply do not exist in other languages or dialects, particularly Cantonese. This means individuals have to substitute words with another expression. Usually, we act in a certain way when we speak English. Just like how we tell jokes or stories.
When clinics have staffs who speak Cantonese, they are able to communicate with ethnic clients more effectively as they can see things in a different light. It is pertinent that staff engages well with potential walk-in clients to understand their dental situation better and relate the message to dental professionals.
Clinics can interact with their ethnic clients more
When one is able to speak someone else’s native language or dialect, you can talk a lot more about the weather other daily fillers that help build meaningful and deep relationships with foreign individuals or communities. Otherwise, you would have to be an excellent charades player to get your thoughts across. When Cantonese clients visit a foreign clinic, they would be comforted to know that there is someone who is able to speak their native dialect, appreciate it and will feel more at ease; willing to seek treatment without complains. When you have staff who speaks a foreign dialect, the chances of getting new clients every day also increases, as news spread and people know that the particular clinic has someone whom they can communicate with easily.
Clinics can connect with their client’s history and heritage
Staff in a clinic who speaks different languages can maintain a more personal connection with the client’s families. Imagine not being able to communicate with their uncles, aunts, grandparents and parents simply because of a language barrier. This way, it makes it hard to proceed with consultation or treatment. There is a saying that one can’t know where they are going until he or she knows where they have been. And for some, language pertains to that journey.
Multi-linguists agree that one is able to feel a sense of pride and connection to either heritage. Furthermore, speaking other languages tend to bring people of all backgrounds closer together. Therefore, Cantonese-speaking staff in the clinic communicate better with older immigrant families from the first generation, who never managed to fully assimilate into Canadian culture and language.
Clinics can avoid things that are sometimes lost in translation
Today, we live in a world that is increasingly globalized and many cultural subtleties can slip through the gaps as we all try to understand past each other’s different languages and dialects. You should allow yourself to indulge in another language and open doors to entirely new cultures and ways of viewing the world around you. That said, not everything can be translated with words as cultural context is required sometimes.
The way languages or slangs are formed and created can often tell a lot about the individuals speaking it, and it is also helpful when learning new languages. It is critical that we cultivate the willingness and ability to interact with many different kinds of people, who bring along their subtle nuances and diverse languages and dialects – in this multicultural society we live in.
Clinics that provide dental services to diverse range ethnic groups should have staff who can speak their native language or dialect. There are certain details during a consultation that can’t be overlooked or misinterpreted.
At Dao & Associates, we have been serving the Great Toronto Area community for over a decade. We have an experienced team of support staff as well as a Cantonese speaking dentist in Leaside on duty to help you if you speak Cantonese. Call us today to arrange a dental appointment, and be well on your way to greater oral health.