Whether it be in the area of bilingualism, details on the delivery of services in English or French in your area of specialization, language testing, training or translation, New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. will be pleased to share with you their more than thirty years of experience in the field.
- Test Design
New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. firmly believes that the language proficiency of employees should be assessed as it pertains to their occupation and not as per knowledge of the overall structure of the language. This is the reason why we launched into the design of occupationally-related language tests as early as 1984 and continue to add more each year.
- Human Resources
New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. has been involved in Human Resources Management ever since it opened its doors.
Service in both official languages may seem daunting to Human Resources professionals who already deal with a large variety of personnel issues.
Bilingualism is often considered a sensitive area to be dealt with under strict necessity.
Human Resources professionals often require a complement of bilingual staff to offer services to their English and French-speaking clientele but do not necessarily know how many employees are needed in any given unit or department and which level of proficiency should be required for
services to be adequately offered in English or French.
New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. staff can assist in drawing up language standards, which we call linguistic profiles. These profiles determine the level of fluency an employee should reach to be functional in his/her position (not every position requires the same level of proficiency).
This is the first step towards the provision of bilingual services.
The second step is called the designation of positions.
New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. can analyze the composition of a department and recommend the percentage of staff who should be functional so English and French services are offered at all times.
This analysis includes a review of needed oral expression, oral comprehension, reading comprehension and written expression skills, category of personnel, nature and frequency of contact with the organization’s clientele, clientele demographics.
The third step is called gap analysis.
A gap analysis enables New Avenues staff to compare what level of service is required and what is presently available, make recommendations and draw up a plan should there be an insufficient number of functional employees to meet the need.
Presentations to Management, Board of Directors and unions can be arranged.
If the process is properly explained and issues clarified, implementing the use of linguistic profiles and designating positions as bilingual no longer are the nightmare many expect.
The same process applies to non-official languages (languages other than English or French).
- Human Resources and Bilingualism
Human Resources is an area of continuously changing dynamics. Positions commonly held twenty years ago have changed because job requirements have changed.Add to this the advantages of other languages within staff capabilities. In Canada, this most often means English and French, however, in some areas, Mandarin or Urdu may be real additional considerations. This is not just tokenism for the sake of having an occasional need met by staff who have contact with the surrounding population or client base, but more and more, it is a requirement because of demographic changes and world-wide opportunities.
The challenge therefore is to ensure that the candidate or employee has the skills and required vocabulary to properly and accurately communicate on behalf of the company. If at any point in time a situation could become a concern, how would the company protect itself if the selection process did not include an assessment from a professional organization equipped to measure the required linguistic skills?
It is unreasonable to place the responsibility for these decisions upon the shoulders of HR personnel who have a different set of professional skills and may find themselves in a difficult situation before a grievance committee when they are not qualified or trained to make these measurements.
Young people today are becoming much more aware that the choices they make in second language training throughout their educational program can greatly impact their careers down the road. Parents have become proactive and often enroll children in immersion programs to enhance mobility and career possibilities.
Perhaps the time will come when bilingualism in most areas of Canada will become a norm and Human Resources staff will have more choice when selecting employees. But until then, care and attention must be given to this sensitive area. HR staff also need to be culturally aware and sensitive to the linguistic duality which Canada presents in order to properly adjust to the reality. The ability to change one word into another in a different language does not indicate a person is bilingual. Words are only one segment of language use. The underlying cultural and social norms for any language group, including English speakers, must be understood and taken into account. Now to what extent does someone need to speak a second (or third) language? How is it decided? This process is called linguistic profiling. We do this as well as take the burden off your HR staff!
- Linguistic Profiles
Give Human Resource professionals and administrators an objective tool to determine the level of linguistic proficiency needed for employees or candidates to function in a given position.
A linguistic profile is an objective tool which determines the linguistic requirements the incumbent of a position needs, to be able to fulfill the tasks and responsibilities of a particular position (i.e. a data entry clerk or food service attendant does not require the same level of second language proficiency as a 911 Operator).
Linguistic profiles must be based on job description requirements and not on an individual already providing services within a position.
Linguistic profiles encompass all communication skills: oral expression, oral comprehension, reading comprehension and written expression.
A variety of scales is used on the market (i.e. the Ontario government uses a scale ranging from Novice to Superior levels, others use a scale ranging from 0 to 5; yet others have chosen Beginner to Advanced. Some institutions use a range of C- to A+).
Linguistic standards are written for each level.
New Avenues Linguistic Services inc. designs the required profiles according to the scale the customer prefers.
How to use linguistic profiles:
To verify the level of linguistic proficiency employees or candidates need to achieve for a given position, the Human Resources officer and manager/supervisor/administrator verify what the linguistic profiles are for that position, in the English and French languages.
Linguistic profiles become linguistic requirements in the selection process of candidates.