All Graduates
All Graduates | 5 Apr 2019

Digital communication has made engagement simpler, but understanding the needs and preferences of your non-English speaking background (NESB) or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients can make a big difference. Here are four key aspects to consider. 


1. Diversified Communication Platforms for Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) Clients


Non-English speakers access information from various sources. While some may require telephone interpreter service, others are comfortable with digital communication platforms. It’s essential to accommodate these different preferences to effectively reach out to your non-English speaking or CALD clients.


In 1975, the Australian Government established the forerunner of what we know today as SBS. They created this radio service to help migrants and refugees understand important changes in society. You can read more about this in our article about SBS and the evolution of multilingual media.

Companies need to consider the digital skills of their audience. What is effective for one person may not be for another. For instance, highly skilled migrants might prefer to receive information through messaging apps, social media, and podcasts. On the other hand, older migrants and refugees might find it easier to use more traditional methods, like phone messages.


Different Communication Platforms for NESB Clients


2. Understanding Literacy Levels in Non-English Speaking Clients


Verbal proficiency does not equate to literacy ability. With an average worldwide illiteracy rate of 18.9%, it’s crucial to develop strategies that consider literacy levels. For example, using audio-messaging through a system like LiME Multilingual Messaging can be an effective solution. When messages turn into discussions, it’s necessary to bring in phone, video, and on-site interpreters. Given that up to 6 million Australians may have very limited English reading and understanding skills, it’s a smart move to put these systems in place.


3. Consideration of Accents When Communicating with Non-English Speakers


Accents can sometimes add complexity to verbal communication. By using a variety of voice talents with different accents for different audiences, and providing video remote interpreting, it’s possible to enhance understanding and ease any uneasiness in non-English speakers.


It seems quite simple to mimic an Australian accent. However, how often have you winced at an American trying to copy it? Or been puzzled when someone asks you abroad if you’re from London. Every accent has its unique traits, influenced by the people you’ve lived with and the culture you’ve been raised in. The Australian accent can vary from region to region. This doesn’t make it any easier for a foreigner to imitate, much less comprehend.

People who don’t speak English may already feel uncomfortable, struggling to understand cultural and language differences when using services. Your organization can make this easier by using messaging services, interpreters and similar tools to enhance communication. We also suggest using voice actors with different accents for various audiences.


Importance of Accents in Communication with Non-English Speakers


4. Boosting Engagement for Better Loyalty with Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) Clients


Creating content in your clients’ native language and engaging with them via social media can greatly improve their engagement. This authentic approach to digital communication fosters a sense of belonging among your non-English speaking or CALD clients, resulting in better loyalty.

In simple terms, it’s important to create a bond with your customers to keep them interested and devoted to your business. This should be the same for your clients who don’t speak English. In fact, with today’s ever-present technology, it’s more important than ever. Clients look forward to receiving messages that are personal, easy to understand, and meet their specific needs. If your organization can deliver this, the end result will be satisfied clients who feel important and valued.

Don’t hesitate to interact with your clients on social media, and urge them to view your website, forums, and social media platforms as safe spaces to initiate discussions and ask questions. The more conversation you can generate, and the more engaged they are, the more control and influence they will feel. Ideally, they will not just be your fans or supporters, but also your advocates and representatives. This gives non-English speakers and individuals from different cultures a chance to feel a sense of belonging.



Non-English speaking background customers have the same needs as any other client. They require clear, accessible, and targeted content. With thoughtful communication strategies, you can meet their unique needs, foster deeper engagement, and build long-term loyalty.