Language Needs Analysis

Language Needs Analysis

Most organizations have a primary language that is used within the organization for communication. Often, but not always, this is English. When other languages are needed in the organization, there begins a process called the Language Needs Analysis. There are three steps to the Language Needs Analysis.

  • Determining the type of language capabilities required (e.g. speaking, listening, reading, writing) for each job requiring non-primary language skills.
  • Defining the level of capability (e.g. functionally native, advanced professional proficiency, limited working proficiency, etc.) needed for each type of language capability (i.e. What is the minimum capability needed to do each job?)
  • Selecting individuals to do the jobs requiring non-primary language skills.

ALTA offers complete capabilities to support you on each step of the Language Needs Analysis. ALTA’s Language Review Services provide you with the identification of languages, determination of capabilities needed and definition of levels required. ALTA’s language tests (oral or writing) give you the data you need about each candidate to make the proper decision about whether he/she possesses the necessary language skills for the job.

Identifying Non-Primary Languages

In today’s multinational and multilingual environment many organizations have a need to work with people whose first language differs from what is normally used within the organization. This means that the organization has a need for people who have some degree of capability in two languages. There are many examples of a need for bilingual employees:

  • Airline In-Flight Service Personnel: For safety and customer service reasons an airline needs to staff international flights with personnel who can speak both the language where the flight originates and the language of destination. For example, a flight from New York to Tokyo needs in-flight personnel who speak both English and Japanese.
  • Call Center Personnel: An American company’s call center provides customer service by telephone to all of North America requiring English-Spanish and English-French speakers.
  • Hospital Interpreters: An urban hospital provides medical care to patients some of whom speak only Spanish, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Hmong or Korean. The hospital staff uses English.
  • International Transferees: An international company moves employees from one country to another. Since the transferred employees must work with customers and workers at the new location, the company wanted to set a language qualification as one of the criteria to become a transfer candidate.
  • Latin American Sales Representative: An international company needs a sales representative for Latin America. Since the market area includes Spanish and Portuguese-speaking areas and the company language is English, a trilingual person is needed.
  • Personnel Recruiting Company: A recruiting company that focuses on identifying, recruiting and placing persons in the accounting field receives client requests for bilingual candidates. The recruiting company must be sure that the candidates it provides meet the clients’ specifications.
  • Sales Assistant: A company receives orders from Spanish and English-speaking customers. These calls are taken by a sales assistant who takes the specific information by telephone.
  • Student: A university teaches in English and requires its students to have proficiency in English before admission.
  • Tour Guides: A large museum offers guided group tours in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

Defining what languages are needed within the organization is the first step. ALTA provides assistance in this identification process as part of its Language Review Services. For more information, or to contact ALTA regarding your testing requirements, please visit the Language Testing homepage.

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