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Working with an Interpreter

Job aid for WLOL course: Communicating with Participants

Working in Multicultural Environment – Working with an Interpreter

As a WIC staff member, you are exposed to a variety of cultures and ethnicities every day, so it is important for you to know how to communicate respectfully and effectively with people of different cultures and backgrounds. Think of working with participants from other cultures as an opportunity to learn more about those cultures.

When you provide nutrition education to a participant, try to work within the parameters of that participant's culture. Remember that working within a participant's cultural norm will produce better results than trying to force that participant to conform to unfamiliar cultural practices:

  • Learn about the predominant cultural groups in your area.
  • Modify food option recommendations when appropriate.
  • Know which foods certain cultural groups use for health purposes.
  • Be familiar with the cultural habits and traditions of your participants.
  • Overcome the language barrier

In order to overcome the language barrier, you may need to use an interpreter's services. An interpreter can be someone from within your WIC clinic or an outside person hired to provide this service. Check out the Working with an Interpreter job aid to view some helpful guidelines for those times when you need an interpreter to help you provide effective nutrition education.

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