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Here you can find the results of research carried out to assess the use of languages in Social and Community Services and identify best practices that can be shared in other regions of Europe.

Prior to this we designed a questionnaire in Spanish, English, French, German and Dutch, which was distributed widely in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and other countries where these languages are spoken.

The collection of data was done through face-to-face, telephone, or internet interviews, addressed at social and community European services at local, regional or national level, such as hospitals, courts of justice, police stations, medical services, migration centers, libraries, administrative departments and other assistance centers.

As part of the results you can find general information about the services interviewed, including language competences and capabilities, and the use of different languages in those services (either national official or minority languages or foreign languages, including languages used by people with communication disabilities (deaf, mute or blind people)); information about the different language groups they have to work with on a regular basis and the frequency of such situations, including people with communication disabilities; how they react when they have communication problems and which possibilities they have to solve such problems, including tools used to solve communication problems due to language; information if guides or manuals are used to deal with communication difficulties; as well as examples of good practice, or about the importance of attending training courses.

The results of the above research have been analysed and have led us to some conclusions on the situation of the social and community services when they have to deal with other languages (either official languages from the country, foreign languages or the ones used by people with communication disabilities). This has been of help in identifying some recommendations and good practice to follow in order to improve the social and community services when addressing people in languages that differ from the “official” one.

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Literature Across frontiers Club de Madrid European Association for Terminology
European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) CMFE (Community Media Forum Europe) Federation of European Publishers
Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) Eurolang European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE)
ALTE EUNIC in Brussels Mercator European Network of Language Diversity Centres
European Forum of Vocational Education and Training European Federation of National Institutions for Language Europa Esperanto Unio - EEU
European Coordination of Independent Producers (CEPI) EUROCLIO European Federation for Intercultural Learning
Culturelink Federal Union of European Nationalities European Council of Literary Translators' Associations
European Publishers Council European Theatre Convention European Council of Artists (ECA)
EEE-YFU Fundación Academia Europea de Yuste RECIT

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Not only is it a basic courtesy to endeavour to speak the language of the country where you're living, it's also very useful in business - if you want to be successful, communication is key.

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