Free program to help hurdle language barriers
30 MAY 2008
An online program to help professionals from many disciplines who communicate with interpreters who work with people who don’t speak English will now be provided for free to all Charles Sturt University students.
An online program to help professionals from many disciplines who communicate with interpreters who work with people who don’t speak English will now be provided for free to all Charles Sturt University (CSU) students.
“Wide access to the interactive training program on working with language interpreters is a major boost for preparing professionals to work in non-English speaking countries and with migrants who don’t speak English,” said CSU social work lecturer Dr Robyn Mason.
“Students in many of CSU’s disciplines, including social work and human services, genetic counselling, education, health sciences, bio-medical sciences and business, especially those using flexible learning, will benefit from the program.”
The interactive training program developed by VITS LanguageLink (formerly the Victorian Interpretation and Translation Service) teaches skills in how to work with language interpreters, using short entertaining video stories.
According to Dr Mason, some CSU on-campus students have experienced the self-paced interactive compact disk, but VITS LanguageLink now also allows CSU to make this program available to all its distance and on-campus students. In 2007, CSU had over 21 000 distance education students.
“The program takes students to a fictitious country - Lingualand - where they arrive at passport control with no knowledge of the language or customs of the country or culture. The student has a confusing and chaotic experience filling in forms, culminating in signing a form they have no understanding of and which could mean life or death. Without the language, and with no help available, they experience the vulnerability and isolation of not knowing a language,” Rebecca Haynes from VITS said.
Dr Mason said the program highlights important points about working with someone who does not speak fluent English and provides useful, practical guidelines. “Students can see the benefits of using an interpreter to ensure clients, patients and customers get the best service.”
The CSU lecturer is particularly enthusiastic about the program now being available to all CSU students, no matter where they are.