Non English Speaking Operators - Bi-lingual lead people? Suggestions?

waterdog

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hey everybody, this is my first post. I just found the site and it is very good. I have a question. We are just getting serious about quality and we are going for ISO9002 certification. One of our biggest problems is that over half of our operators and inspectors are from Vietnam or Mexico and they do not speak or read English. Has anyone dealt with this? We have considered bi-lingual lead people, translation of documents, and visual aids. Any suggestions?
 
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J

Jimmy Olson

#2
Hi Waterdog and welcome to the cove :bigwave:

We have a similar situation as the vast majority of our production employees are Asian and we have done a couple of the things you have mentioned. Several of our area leads and supervisors are bi-lingual and act as translators when necessary. We have conducted some basic ESL courses and support people going to outside courses as well.

One of the biggest helps is that our manufacturing instructions are all visual based. We take our customer documentation and convert everything into pictures and diagrams that are used on the production floor. This works really well for us. The instructions are broken up into the various manufacturing portions and are all color coded. Depending on the product you are making you may consider this option.
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
what we did

Hi waterdog and welcome!!!

We have a large hispanic work force. We are a small company, so we don't have the resorces to do ESL courses, but we did some of the things Richard did. We have bi-lingual leads, we translated some key documentation, and we color code where we can. The problem with translations are two fold. Different dialect, and a large percentage that can't read their own language. But so far, what we have done works and works well for us.

Hope this helps a bit.

CarolX
 
#4
Yes, welcome to the Cove waterdog! :bigwave: Good question, and hope to hear a lot from you.

I have one concern:

we are going for ISO9002 certification
ISO 9002 will be obsolete and invalid come December. You should be looking towards ISO 9001:2000.
 
#6
Re: Non English Speaking Operators

waterdog said:

Hey everybody, this is my first post. I just found the site and it is very good. I have a question. We are just getting serious about quality and we are going for ISO9002 certification. One of our biggest problems is that over half of our operators and inspectors are from Vietnam or Mexico and they do not speak or read English. Has anyone dealt with this? We have considered bi-lingual lead people, translation of documents, and visual aids. Any suggestions?
Hi Waterdog, and welcome to the Cove. :bigwave:

First of all I share db's concern: Go for ISO9001:2000 instead.

Secondly, we share the language problems you describe. Roughly half our work force have their roots in Finland. Now, Sweden and Finland may be neighbours, but the languages have very little in common.

Consequently, you find an ever growing number of graphs in our written procedures... It helps a lot. Bi-lingual lead people is another great help.

/Claes
 
S
#8
One other possibility that would be beneficial to everyone in the company; require non-englisg personnel to attend ESL (english second language) classes. I volunteer two nights per week to assist with teaching adults and their kids. Last year we had 10 people take and pass the citizenship test.
We offer the ESL classes to the community, but, you could do it at your company after hours.
 
J

Jimmy Olson

#9
Atul Khandekar said:

Carol, Richard,

Would it be possible for you to post a small sample of your visual based instructions here?

Thanx.
Hi Atul,

I would love to post an example, but unfortunately I can't due to confidentiality issues. Our instructions contain customer designs. I am looking to see if I can possibly find something to clean up to give you an idea though.
 
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