Breaking the Language Barrier

Ruby Payan - Bi-lingual Assistant Manager

Ruby Payan - Bi-lingual Assistant Manager

It has always been difficult seeing my grandmother’s frustration when trying to communicate with a person who only spoke English. Noticing the confusion on people’s faces, I would step in as a translator. But there have been rare occasions when, for example a cashier began speaking Spanish. Relief instantly washed over my grandmother’s face and a unique connection was made. Being able to be that person for the Spanish speaking community in our studio is an incredible feeling.

Since becoming part of the team back in 2017, I have been constantly encouraged to find ways to connect with our Hispanic customers and make it easy for them to reach out to us. Knowing that my coworkers also saw the importance of being able to service as many people in our community as possible was exciting. I did not have to push for us to be a Spanish friendly company but instead found those I worked with were happy to see me connect with our clients. Not only was I a connection, but I felt more involved with our Hispanic customers so it could be a wonderful experience for both parties. Not only have we broken that language barrier here in the Clinton community but also in the schools we have photographed this past school year.

Speaking of school season, we will also be redesigning  all of our order forms and including even more translations because one thing we know for sure is that ordering your kids school pictures should be a piece of cake for everyone. We also want our students to have a great experience getting their photo taken. Some of our schools are much more diverse,  some students are still learning English and are being put into uncomfortable situations. Even when accompanied by friends who are prepared to translate our instructions to pose for the picture, there is hesitancy that completely vanishes when I begin communicating with them in Spanish.. This immediately creates a safe environment where the student is no longer embarrassed or frustrated because they don’t understand. I see the expressions of relief on their faces that I used to see on my grandmother.

This just goes to show how impactful it is to have bilingualism deeply incorporated in our company. Though they may seem minor, these are significant changes that make the Blakeburn experience available for everyone in our community.

Oh! We recently installed a new phone system! We now have an extension for Spanish where customers can be redirected to me. This way, Matthew, who’s Spanish is actually pretty good, doesn’t have to panically ask people to hold while getting the phone to me. This will be incredibly useful when school season starts next fall  and we’re flooded with emails and calls even more than we are now. So if you’re curious give us a call and try our new Spanish extension. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Ruby Payan

Bi-lingual Assistant Manager