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AllGraduates

All Graduates

All Graduates is a privately owned translation and interpreting agency specialising in providing services to government, community and corporations in Australia.

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Educational Translation

First Language Assessment tasks - consulting, writing and translation.

Client: The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, formerly The Department of Education and Training - Victoria

Background

This education translation project came to All Graduates from the DEECD,  formerly Victorian Department of Education & Training [DE&T]. Some years previously, the Department had created an instrument, the First Language Assessment Task, for assessing the literacy level in the first language of school-age pupils who had recently arrived in Australia. Assessment consisted of a number of graded writing and reading tasks, from reading simple words to reading longer typical school texts; in writing again from copying simple words to writing longer narratives and answering precise questions on texts. Newly-arrived pupils complete these tasks with the aid of an interpreter, giving the school a measure of their level of prior literacy.

The Tasks had been produced for 4 languages: Arabic, Khmer (Cambodian), Somali and Vietnamese. Interestingly, there was no one standard English text from which the texts in the other languages had been created. Tasks were common (eg linking a word to a picture, repeating from memory a read story) but each language chose its own lexical stock, and its own longer texts and narratives appropriate to the background of the pupil.

DE&T commissioned All Graduates to add two languages, Chinese and Turkish, to the four earlier ones.

Tasks and challenges

The task was thus to produce not exactly translations, but rather a series of tasks in Chinese and Turkish that matched the other languages in style and level of difficulty. This was an unusual challenge, requiring educational research and writing skills as well as translation skills.

The processes that ensued included:

  • Consulting with DE&T and their multicultural school advisors on style of texts to be chosen, and using resources supplied by DE&T to do this
  • Selecting two of our contract translators who had a background in education and were confident in handling the tasks
  • Making appropriate linguistic changes in respective languages to the tasks: in particular, some of the lower level tasks were alphabet-based (replacing missing letters in words, alphabet sequences) that needed to be adjusted for the Chinese ideographic writing systems.
  • Selecting appropriate graphics - a number of graphics had been drawn for the original languages, but they had to be mixed and matched at appropriate places. In both Turkish and Chinese one original graphic was needed in each case to match a longer narrative. This was sourced from an educational publication in the case of Turkish, but a new graphic was commissioned for Chinese.
  • Part of each language kit was an introduction to salient features of the respective language, and the schooling system the pupils would have come from. These were written by the respective translators and checked by DE&T advisors.
  • Acknowledgements, logos, Departmental information and other incidental material were suitably updated.

Achievement

During the course of the project, DE&T also consulted us about formatting and in the end decided not to continue with a printed version with the new languages inserted, but to produce a CD with print-on-demand functions that would replace the print version. This also consolidated the material from the previous languages into one complete electronic version (there was no complete electronic version of the original Tasks). Thus a complete new second edition was produced, now more portable and more easily available to schools.

Material on the First Language Assessment Tasks can be found at www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/lem/esl/ecurri.htm

Translations were produced in the following combinations: English into Arabic, English into Chinese, English into Khmer (Cambodian), English into Somali, English into Turkish and English into Vietnamese.

The project thus combined a number of demands besides translation - consulting, adapting text linguistically and culturally, researching and writing, advising on formatting and style. This is the range of services we can provide to our clients.

For further information about this project:

Contact: Ismail Akinci, CEO
Phone:1300 854 799
International Phone:+61 (3) 9605 3000

 

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