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3 tips for talking to law enforcement if your English is not good

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2019 | Firm News

Not being a native English speaker can sometimes be an inconvenience. You may have to repeat yourself sometimes, or have some issues with getting your point across because you cannot find the right words. However, most of the time, it is just something you deal with and there is no harm done.

In some situations, though, not being able to communicate clearly can become a big deal. For example, when communicating with law enforcement, any misunderstandings can become serious. So, here are some tips for talking to officers in Connecticut to help reduce the chance for issues due to your limited English.

  1. Learn important phrases

You should have a few phrases ready to go if you must interact with officers. For example, if you are in a car crash, you will want to know how to say “I need medical attention,” or “I do not need medical attention.”

You should also know how to say that your English is not very good. This alerts the officer to the possible communication barrier right upfront.

  1. Use your cellphone

U.S. News and World Report explains your cellphone can serve as a translator in a pinch. Most phones have this feature. This can be a real lifesaver in serious situations when communication becomes difficult.

You can also use your phone to call someone you know who can act as a translator. Just let officers know what you are doing.

  1. Write things down

If you do better with writing English or if you have a heavy accent that seems to be getting in the way of comprehension, then try writing key information down for the officer. This can help to also keep a record of your communications and eliminate any confusion.

Trying to communicate in an already nerve-wracking situation when you do not speak English well can be very frustrating. Avoid issues by using these three communication tips.

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