Objectives. Recent literature has emphasized collaborative goal setting between therapists and clients and has sought to increase therapists’ awareness of treating in cross-cultural settings. How occupational therapists verbally evaluate clients with limited English proficiency (LEP) is important to these topics and underdeveloped in the literature.

Method. Seventy-four occupational therapists working with adult clients with LEP in physical rehabilitation settings in large U.S. metropolitan areas were surveyed to discover the time taken, methods used, and themes surrounding verbal evaluation, including use of translators and respondents’ linguistic abilities. A follow-up telephone interview of 12 survey respondents clarified these discoveries.

Results. Respondents reported taking 11.5 min more to verbally evaluate clients with LEP than for English-speaking clients and reported understanding the treatment needs of clients’ with LEP after verbal evaluation less well. Respondents with higher abilities in second languages reported better understanding of clients’ needs than monolingual respondents.

Conclusion. Methods for cross-lingual verbal evaluation need to be identified so that therapists can collaborate with clients with LEP in planning culturally sensitive treatment.

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