MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CASE STUDY

FROM THE BALLPARK TO THE CLASSROOM

STRENGTHENING TEAMS THROUGH LANGUAGE TRAINING

The 2017 Major League Baseball season opened with a record high number of foreign-born players. In the major leagues alone, now consist of 29.8% of players born outside of the 50 US states. The Dominican Republic and Venezuela are just a few countries where this talent is coming from. Due to this, LTC is tasked with some unique MLB communication challenges.

Building a winning team can be challenging enough when all players can communicate effectively. Try adding in linguistic and cultural barriers and this only serves to increase that difficulty. In such an intensive and fast-paced environment as professional sports, reliance on the use of interpreters and translators to bridge these barriers can drag a team down, and cost them precious time they could be using to improve skills and build necessary team cohesion.

THE PROBLEM

One franchise recognized these challenges and sought a solution. The San Francisco Giants partnered with LTC Language Solutions to design a program aimed at not only eliminating the language barriers of their Latin players, but building a culturally competent team.

“We knew we needed to provide the tools that Latin players needed to be able to communicate and further their careers,” said Laura Nunez, Coordinator of Education and Cultural Development. “That’s the biggest motivator for us, because communication skills definitely open doors to make the necessary adjustments faster.”

The culture surrounding baseball provides a unique learning environment, so the team set out to develop a program that would be the right fit. They had a clear vision for what an effective language program might look like for them; “Clear objectives, effective instruction, and tailoring the classes to fit [the players’] needs and learning style.”

THE SOLUTION

Before implementing each program, the team works together in defining objectives. The curriculum is then designed around these objectives, with regular evaluation to make sure the program stays on track.

As for effective instruction, LTC pairs instructors who bring a wealth of knowledge and a unique blend of experiences with them. LTC’s focus on communicative instruction methods helps with the skills needed by players most; the ability to understand direction and communicate back with coaches and teammates. “The instructors that are working with us are motivated,” said Laura. “I find that they adapt quickly and can apply their knowledge from previous experience to where it’s really needed in the classroom.”

The instructional environment is unique not only because of the content, but also because of the students found within the program. Many players are newly arrived from their native country, and are experiencing what it’s like to live away from home for the first time. Not only does this bring cultural challenges, but also makes connection with their peers and instructor that much more essential.

“That human component that the instructors bring is a great asset to the program for the players, when they’re on their island on road trips with their team. Having someone outside of baseball is a great outlet for them to learn and build connections,” Laura said.

CUSTOM PROGRAMS AND LESSONS

The customized and tailored approach to language training has also seen great success in the program. As Laura puts it, “[The players are] kids at heart. They’re very visual. Interaction, energy, movement all work really well for them.” Providing students with training that matches their preferred learning style, while tapping into their interests, keeps them engaged in the learning environment.

With the availability of so many different technological tools to enhance instruction, the team knew this would be an important focus in their program. Utilization of tools such as video, interactive whiteboards, listening exercises and mobile applications bring relevance to lessons. “It’s had a huge impact on [the players’] learning process,” said Laura. “It makes the lessons so much more interesting, and keeps the players guessing what will happen next.”

THE RESULTS

This carefully designed approach to language instruction not only keeps the players excited to come to class and learn, but has also shown to be a success. Of the participating students, the team has seen a significant increase in the number of players now communicating fluently in English. Even of the students not quite considered bilingual, there have been noticeable improvements to their communication skills.

These skills have brought improvements not just to individual players, but across the entire organization. Therefore, teamwork comes easier. Coaches are able to spend their time coaching, rather than figuring out how to express their points. Players are appreciative of the new opportunities available to them with their new language skills.

“There is a great sense of improvement from coaches and players. Everyone is communicating better,” Laura told us. “As a result, teamwork and appreciation of culture [has] brought them that much closer.”

Better team communication allows each player to meet their highest potential. Improved language skills open doors to new relationships and new opportunities that in return build strong, tenacious teams. Lives are changed through meaningful connections. After all, baseball is all about bringing people together.

CORPORATE SERVICES

LTC offers document translation for businesses, organizations, and government entities; and interpretation for corporate events, meetings, conferences, and sports teams.

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J. Brogan

Thanks Wendy for all your help! You are a terrific manager. What a difference between my GLobal LT experience and working with you!!

Teacher

I have had wonderful interpreters from LTC in the past, who have done a great job providing precise and accurate interpretation. Ms. Li, however, goes far above and beyond what is expected. I’m so very grateful for her exceptional service to both this family and to ZCS.

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D. Henriquez

I Would Recommend Ltc To Other Global Companies Requiring Interpretation Services. During Our Event, The Performance Of Ltc Made Me Feel At Ease Which Allowed Me To Focus My Attention On Other Aspects Of The Event. I Believe That When You Work With Ltc, You Will Receive A Professional And Efficient Team Of People Who Will Do Everything In Their Power To Deliver Excellent Service.

D. Hayden

I can say only that Ruth is an amazing teacher. I am absolutely satisfied with our classes. Thank you so much for your attention.

Language Training Student

We meet virtually now. He even gave me a cooking lesson….he tried his best to do it in Japanese but we ended up doing most of it in English ????. While I may have learned less words, I certainly got to learn how to make tempura!!

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I Appreciate Your Qualified Language Training Program Very Much. You Made It Possible To Improve My Knowledge In The English Language In A Lot Of Ways: A Significant Increase Of Vocabulary, Repetition And Consolidation Of Grammar And Practice The English Language By Using It In Conversations During Every Lesson. I Be Very Thankful For All They´ve Done And I´ll Always Recommend Your Institution In The Future.

C. Muth

Thank You For All Of Everyone’s Help With Fumiya. We Have All Seen Him Grow With The Ability To Communicate On The Daily Tasks. I Will Defiantly Keep You On My Contacts In Future Situations Thank You Again Have A Great Day.

J.

The ongoing lessons have helped break up the routine of quarantine and more importantly, a source of learning and personal improvement during these extraordinary times.

Jasmin (Student in Mexico City)

I Really Enjoyed My Time With Christine, She Is Amazing, As I Told You She Helped Me A Lot Improving My Conversation Skills. The Classes Were Really Dynamics\ And I Never Felt Like I Was In A Strict Class. I Want To Say Thank You Again And I Hope In The Future To Take The Training Again. I Will Recommend Ltc With My Venezuelan And Latin Friends.

F. Inciarte

Joseph was an excellent instructor. He was very dedicated to teaching me the language skills I needed for my upcoming assignment.

Student from Government Program

Thank you so much for your interpretation service – it has been a blessing to work with you and has been so helpful in a meaningful way!

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Project Management Employee

It was the 3rd class with Kathy today. She is the best English trainer I’ve ever met. Her lessons really work good. So far I have nothing I need to ask you.

Nissan student from Japan.

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K. Corrigan

I really LOVE my Portuguese classes and Juliana is TERRIFIC… I never had a teacher as great as Juliana, she is amazing and it is teaching me not only to talk in Portuguese but also about the Brazilian culture that is helping me a lot to understand the way they communicate…

Student in Mexico

Thank you. I appreciate what you do to help our Company succeed with better communication for our fellow employees.

Director of Human Resources – Staffing Company

Gabi was afraid to tackle speaking, until we just starting talking. She has now put out a yoga video with her speaking English. She will teach this class twice a week.

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The LTC Is The Best English Training Compared To My Previous Language Training Experience Because They Really Understand What I Needed And The Important And Suitable Materials Useful To Apply At My Work. They Give Me Confident To Speak In English And My Writing Is Improving.

D. Sriyunilawati

Thank you both very much for all you do. This translation project will go incredibly far in informing many of our Veterans and their families, on the important facts and information surrounding our current pandemic.

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Freedom House

Thank you so much to all of you for this workshop, I absolutely loved all the information you shared and will definitely continue to address cultural differences in class.

French Instructor

I Enjoyed Studying With LTC. I Am Grateful For The Great Work With Ana And Her Professionalism To Customize Themes And Her Support In My Daily Life. I Feel More Comfortable With My Language.

D. Triviño

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French Student

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Student from Mexico learning English

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Bilingual Professor

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K. Singh

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Practice Manager

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Anonymous

I’m so grateful to have you interpreting these important and complex issues for our student!

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