All Graduates
All Graduates | 17 Feb 2024

Effective communication that resonates with non-English speaking audiences is essential for businesses and organizations seeking to expand their reach and engage diverse communities. One of the most transformative aspects of modern communication tools is the advent of the Internet and digital communication platforms. In addition to digital communication, traditional forms of communication, such as radio, television, and print media, continue to play a role in disseminating information and shaping public discourse.

For non-English speaking clients, navigating language barriers can present unique challenges. However, with the assistance of skilled translators and interpreters, communication barriers can be overcome. Read on to learn 7 effective communication techniques that translators and interpreters utilize to facilitate meaningful interactions for non-English speaking clients.

The 7 Cs of Communication

The 7 Cs of Communication are principles that can enhance communication effectiveness regardless of language proficiency. These principles are particularly useful for non-English speaking individuals:

All Graduates NZ - Communication Effectiveness And Language Proficiency

  1. Clarity: Ensure that your message is clear and easy to understand. Use simple language, avoid jargon, and provide context to help non-English speakers grasp the meaning of your communication.

  2. Conciseness: Keep your message concise and to the point. Non-English speakers may have limited language proficiency, so it’s important to convey your message straightforwardly without unnecessary complexity or verbosity.

  3. Coherence: Organize your communication logically and coherently. Present information in a structured format with clear transitions between ideas to help non-English speakers follow the flow of your message.

  4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your communication style, tone, and messaging. Consistent communication helps non-English speakers feel more comfortable and confident in understanding and responding to your message.

  5. Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural differences and sensitivities when communicating with non-English speakers. Respect cultural norms, customs, and traditions to avoid misunderstandings or offense.

  6. Courtesy: Show respect and courtesy in your communication with non-English speakers. Use polite language, express appreciation, and acknowledge their efforts to engage in communication, even if there are language barriers.

  7. Confirmation: Seek feedback and confirmation to ensure mutual understanding. Encourage non-English speakers to ask questions, seek clarification, and provide feedback on their understanding of your message to confirm comprehension and address any misunderstandings promptly.

Bridging Language Gaps

Good communication skills enable individuals to express their thoughts, ideas, and intentions clearly and effectively. Whether speaking, writing, or presenting, the ability to articulate thoughts coherently and compellingly enhances understanding and facilitates meaningful dialogue.

All Graduates NZ - Bridging Language Gaps

Translators and interpreters play a crucial role in facilitating communication for non-English speaking clients in various contexts. Their primary responsibilities include:

  1. Language Bridge: Translators and interpreters serve as language bridges between non-English speaking clients and English-speaking individuals or entities. They facilitate communication by accurately translating spoken or written content from one language to another, ensuring that the intended message is conveyed accurately and effectively.

  2. Access to Information: Translators and interpreters enable non-English speaking clients to access important information, resources, and services that may otherwise be inaccessible due to language barriers. They translate documents, forms, contracts, websites, and other materials into the client’s native language, ensuring that information is comprehensible and actionable.

  3. Effective Communication: Translators and interpreters help non-English speaking clients effectively communicate their needs, preferences, and concerns in interactions with English-speaking individuals or organizations. They interpret verbal communication in real time during meetings, appointments, interviews, and other interactions, ensuring clear and accurate communication between parties.

  4. Empowerment and Advocacy: Translators and interpreters empower non-English speaking clients to advocate for themselves, make informed decisions, and exercise their rights. By providing language support and ensuring that clients understand their options and rights, translators and interpreters help level the playing field and promote equity and inclusion.

  5. Cultural Mediation: Translators and interpreters serve as cultural mediators, helping to bridge cultural differences and misunderstandings that may arise in cross-cultural communication. They provide context, clarify cultural nuances, and navigate cultural sensitivities to facilitate effective communication and mutual understanding between parties.

  6. Confidentiality and Professionalism: Translators and interpreters adhere to strict standards of confidentiality and professionalism to protect the privacy and dignity of non-English speaking clients. They maintain confidentiality regarding sensitive information shared during interactions and uphold ethical standards to ensure the integrity of the communication process.

Overall, translators and interpreters play a vital role in empowering non-English speaking clients, facilitating effective communication, and promoting access to information and services. Their expertise and professionalism are essential for breaking down language barriers, fostering inclusion, and ensuring that all individuals can fully participate in society and access the resources they need to thrive.

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All Graduates
All Graduates | 2 Dec 2023

CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse)

CALD stands for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities. This term is used to refer to groups of people within a society who come from various cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. CALD communities encompass individuals and families with diverse heritage, languages, traditions, and customs.

The CALD community in New Zealand includes people from Maori and Pacific Islander backgrounds, as well as immigrants and refugees from countries such as China, India, the Philippines, Korea, South Africa, the Middle East, and many others. These communities bring diverse languages, traditions, religions, and cultural practices to the country.

Discover how advancements in technology are not only breaking down language barriers but also fostering inclusion and empowerment within CALD communities.

Language Diversity in New Zealand

New Zealand boasts remarkable linguistic diversity, encompassing over 160 distinct languages spoken across the nation. Auckland, in particular, stands out as one of the globe’s most culturally diverse cities, witnessing the daily use of over 150 languages among its populace, representing a mosaic of more than 100 ethnicities. This rich tapestry of languages is the product of immigration from various European, Asian, and Pacific Island nations, each contributing a multitude of linguistic traditions.

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All Graduates NZ Articles - Language Diversity in New Zealand

As per the 2018 census, New Zealand counted 946,275 multilingual individuals, constituting 20.6% of respondents proficient in at least one language. The Auckland region stood at the forefront with 30.9%, closely followed by Wellington at 21.2%. While English and Te Reo Māori remain the most prevalent languages, Samoan, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, French, and Cantonese boast significant speaker communities.

This diverse linguistic landscape mirrors New Zealand’s multicultural essence, offering opportunities for cultural exchange while simultaneously presenting the nation with unique challenges to embrace and support this varied linguistic tapestry.

LIME Multilingual Messaging System by All Graduates

The LIME Multilingual Messaging System by All Graduates serves as a pivotal tool in supporting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, addressing the critical need for effective communication across languages and cultural barriers.

Accessibility to essential services is crucial for CALD individuals, and the LIME system plays a significant role in ensuring that they can readily access information and engage with service providers in their preferred languages. By offering real-time multilingual communication capabilities, LIME enables seamless interactions between service providers, institutions, and CALD communities, regardless of language differences.

All Graduates NZ Articles - LIME Multilingual Messaging

This innovative system facilitates clear and accurate communication in various sectors, including healthcare, emergency services, government agencies, education, and more. CALD individuals can benefit from immediate access to interpreters, translated materials, and support services through the LIME platform, ensuring that they receive accurate information and assistance tailored to their cultural and linguistic needs.

Moreover, LIME enhances efficiency by streamlining communication processes, reducing potential misunderstandings, and enabling faster responses to inquiries or emergencies within CALD communities. Its user-friendly interface and versatile features empower service providers to deliver culturally sensitive and inclusive support, fostering trust and collaboration with CALD individuals.

Ultimately, the LIME Multilingual Messaging System stands as a bridge that narrows communication gaps, promotes inclusivity, and empowers CALD communities by ensuring equitable access to vital services and information in their preferred languages. All Graduates’ commitment to facilitating effective multilingual communication contributes significantly to building stronger and more connected communities.

Revolutionizing Language Services: The Power of Technology

Advancements in technology play an indispensable role in elevating language services, fostering seamless communication, and breaking linguistic barriers. The modern landscape of language services technology has evolved significantly to meet the demands of a globalized world, amplifying the presence and impact of businesses across diverse cultural settings.

Technology plays a crucial role in assisting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in various ways:

1. Language Accessibility

Technology enables the development of translation apps, multilingual websites, and software that facilitate communication in diverse languages. These tools bridge the language gap, allowing CALD individuals to access information, services, and resources in their preferred language.

2. Telehealth and Telecommunications

Telehealth services and video conferencing platforms equipped with language interpretation features allow CALD individuals to communicate with healthcare providers, counselors, or government agencies in their native languages. This ensures better access to healthcare and essential services.

3. Education and E-Learning

Technology facilitates e-learning platforms with multilingual support, aiding CALD students in accessing educational resources and courses in their native languages. This promotes inclusive learning environments and equal educational opportunities.

4. Community Engagement

Social media and online forums create spaces for CALD communities to connect, share experiences, and access support networks. These platforms foster community engagement and enable the exchange of cultural knowledge and information.

5. Digital Access to Information

Online information repositories, government websites, and mobile applications offer multilingual interfaces and information, ensuring that CALD individuals have equitable access to important resources and services.

6. Employment Opportunities

Technology enables remote work, freelancing, and online job platforms, opening up employment opportunities for CALD individuals who might face language barriers in traditional workplace settings.

7. Cultural Preservation

Digital platforms aid in preserving and sharing cultural heritage, languages, and traditions of CALD communities, ensuring that these legacies are not lost over time.

This evolution witnesses a harmonious blend of human expertise and automated translation software, resulting in swift and accurate translations. This fusion has empowered companies with more precise interpretations delivered within shorter timeframes. Moreover, technology facilitates the consistent and precise translation of an array of materials—technical documents, software applications, eLearning courses, and product websites—in over 100 languages, catering to the requirements of prominent tech enterprises.

Language technology solutions encompass a wide array of tools such as computer-assisted translation (CAT), translation memory (TM) software, content management systems, translation project management systems, machine translation, and localization tools. Collectively, these tools significantly streamline the translation, localization, and management of foreign language content, enhancing efficiency and cost-effectiveness for businesses navigating global markets.

In essence, technology serves as a powerful tool to empower CALD communities by breaking down language barriers, improving access to essential services, fostering inclusivity, and facilitating cultural exchange in an increasingly interconnected world.

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References:
Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Health
Responding to language diversity in Auckland
Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand
Literacy and numeracy in New Zealand: findings from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey
Languages spoken in New Zealand
The Evolution Of Language Services Technology
Language Technology Solutions
Develop, Launch, and Scale Your Technology Innovations Globally with the Best Technical Translation Services

 

All Graduates
All Graduates | 22 Jun 2024

New Zealand is a multicultural society with a rich diversity of languages and cultures. This diversity brings both opportunities and challenges in terms of literacy, as non-native English speakers may face language barriers and varying levels of literacy.

Literacy is a fundamental skill that enables individuals to fully participate in society and access opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, many non-English speakers in New Zealand face significant challenges when it comes to achieving proficient literacy levels. 

According to the 2014-2015 Survey of Adult Skills, approximately one in five New Zealand adults, or 20%, demonstrated low literacy skills. While New Zealand has a generally well-educated population, there are still significant literacy challenges. Approximately one in five New Zealanders is operating at a highly effective level of literacy, while the majority of Māori, Pacific Islands people, and other ethnic minority groups are functioning below the required level of competence.

In New Zealand, literacy is understood as more than just the ability to read and write. It encompasses a broad set of skills including reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking. The scope of literacy in New Zealand is aligned with the needs of a modern, diverse, and multicultural society.

All Graduates - Scope of Literacy in New Zealand
In this article, we will explore the far-reaching consequences of poor literacy on individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds in New Zealand, shedding light on the challenges they face and the initiatives in place to address this issue.

Importance of Literacy for Non-English Speaking Backgrounds in New Zealand

Literacy holds a vital role for immigrants in New Zealand, as it does for all members of society. The significance of literacy for immigrants in New Zealand becomes evident through various compelling factors:

Importance of Literacy for Non-English Speaking Backgrounds in New Zealand

High Proficiency Among Foreign-Language Immigrants

Immigrants who speak languages other than English tend to excel in literacy and numeracy, surpassing the proficiency levels of native-born New Zealanders. This group stands out as one of the most highly proficient immigrant populations across OECD countries.

Importance of English Proficiency

The Office of Ethnic Affairs underlined the importance of migrants acquiring English proficiency, even if they require interpreters to access services, emphasizing the role of language as a tool for integration.

Established Immigrants’ Proficiency

Established immigrants in New Zealand tend to possess higher literacy and numeracy skills than recent immigrants. Moreover, they constitute a larger segment of the highly skilled population, showcasing their valuable contribution to the country.

Access to Education and Employment

Literacy is a cornerstone for immigrants to access education, secure employment, and utilize various services in New Zealand. It is essential for achieving integration into society and realizing personal goals.

Economic and Career Prospects

Literacy rates significantly influence the economic and career prospects of young individuals leaving school. Fundamental skills such as literacy and numeracy are pivotal for entering the productive economy, and a lack of these skills can pose considerable challenges in career development.

The Challenges Faced by Non-English Speakers

Non-English speakers in New Zealand face a range of specific literacy challenges that impact their ability to fully participate in society. These challenges include:

Language Barriers

Non-English speakers often struggle with understanding and using English, which is the primary language of instruction and communication in New Zealand. This affects their ability to comprehend educational materials, engage in classroom activities, and access essential services.

All Graduates - Case Study - Syrian Family - Language Barrier

Limited Access to Bilingual Resources

There is often a lack of educational resources available in languages other than English, making it difficult for non-English speakers to learn in their native language while acquiring English skills.

Cultural Differences in Educational Practices

Different cultural backgrounds can lead to variations in educational expectations and practices. For example, non-English speaking students may come from educational systems with different teaching methods, classroom behaviours, and parental involvement norms, which can affect their adaptation to New Zealand’s educational environment.

Socioeconomic Disadvantages

Non-English speaking immigrants and refugees often face economic hardships, which can limit access to educational opportunities, quality schooling, and learning resources. Economic pressures may also require children and adults to prioritise work over education.

All Graduates - Case Study - Chinese International Student - Language Barrier

Lack of Support Services

Insufficient language support services, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, tutoring, and translation services, hinder the ability of non-English speakers to improve their literacy skills.

Cultural, Educational, and Social Barriers to Improving Literacy

Cultural Barriers

Cultural differences can create misunderstandings and miscommunications in educational settings. Non-English speaking students may have different learning styles and may not participate actively in class discussions, which can be misinterpreted as a lack of interest or ability.

Additionally, cultural norms regarding the role of education and family involvement can affect how literacy development is supported at home.

Educational Barriers

The New Zealand education system may not always provide adequate support for non-English speakers. There can be a shortage of trained ESL teachers, culturally responsive teaching practices, and inclusive curricula that acknowledge and incorporate students’ diverse backgrounds.

Standardised testing in English can further disadvantage non-English speakers, who may have the knowledge but lack the language skills to demonstrate it.

Social Barriers

Social integration is a significant challenge for non-English speakers, who may face discrimination, isolation, and a lack of community support. These social barriers can affect motivation and mental health, which in turn impact educational outcomes. Access to community programs and support networks is essential but often limited.

All Graduates - Impacts of Low Literacy Levels

Current Initiatives and Programs

In New Zealand, various government and non-profit initiatives are dedicated to improving literacy across different demographic groups. Key initiatives include:

Government Initiatives

Reading Together: A Ministry of Education program designed to help parents support their children’s reading at home. It focuses on building positive reading habits and providing practical strategies for parents.

This community-based program involves parents, teachers, and librarians working together to support children’s reading at home. By providing workshops and resources, Reading Together helps parents develop effective reading practices with their children, leading to improved reading skills and parent-child bonding.

Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success: This strategy aims to enhance educational outcomes for Māori students, including improving literacy through culturally responsive teaching and increased engagement with whānau (families).

Programs like Ka Hikitia and the Pasifika Education Plan have shown success in raising awareness and improving educational outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students. Literacy Aotearoa has also made significant strides in adult literacy through its accessible and tailored programs.

Pasifika Education Plan: This initiative focuses on improving educational outcomes for Pasifika students, emphasising literacy through community engagement, parental involvement, and culturally relevant teaching practices.

Non-Profit Initiatives

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC): TEC supports a range of adult literacy and numeracy initiatives, including workplace literacy programs and community-based education.

Literacy Aotearoa: A nationwide organization offering free literacy and numeracy services to adults. Their programs include one-on-one tutoring, group classes, and workplace training.

Storytime Foundation: Focuses on early childhood literacy by distributing free books to families with young children and providing guidance on fostering a love for reading from an early age.

Strategies for Enhancing Literacy

To enhance literacy rates in New Zealand, several policy changes and new initiatives can be considered:

Early Intervention Programs

Implement nationwide early intervention literacy programs in preschools and kindergartens. Focusing on early childhood education can help address literacy issues before children enter formal schooling.

Increased Funding for Literacy Programs

Allocate more government funding to literacy programs, particularly in low-decile schools and underserved communities. This funding should support resources, training, and additional staff for literacy support.

Bilingual Education Support

Expand and support bilingual education programs to help non-English speaking students maintain their native language while acquiring English. This approach can improve overall literacy and cognitive skills.

Parental Involvement Initiatives

Develop initiatives that encourage and support parental involvement in children’s literacy development. Programs like workshops, family literacy nights, and take-home resources can empower parents to contribute to their children’s learning.

Regular Literacy Assessments

Implement regular, formative assessments to monitor students’ literacy progress and identify those needing additional support. These assessments should be used to inform instruction and provide targeted interventions.

Professional Development for Educators

Mandate ongoing professional development for teachers in literacy instruction, focusing on evidence-based practices, culturally responsive teaching, and strategies for supporting bilingual and ESL students.

All Graduates - Strategies for Literacy Development

The Role of Language in Literacy Development

Supporting native language literacy alongside English literacy is crucial for several reasons:

Cognitive Development: Research shows that strong literacy skills in a child’s first language (L1) can enhance cognitive development and facilitate the acquisition of a second language (L2), such as English. When students build a solid foundation in their native language, they develop critical thinking and linguistic skills that transfer to learning a new language.

Cultural Identity and Self-Esteem: Maintaining and developing literacy in one’s native language helps preserve cultural identity and fosters a sense of pride and self-esteem. Students who feel valued and respected for their linguistic background are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their learning.

Family and Community Engagement: Supporting native language literacy encourages communication and bonding within families and communities where English may not be the primary language. This engagement enhances the overall learning environment and provides a support system for students.

Academic Achievement: Students who are literate in their native language often perform better academically. Literacy in L1 supports overall academic success, as students can use their language skills to understand and engage with complex concepts and texts in English.

Multilingual Advantage: In a globalised world, multilingualism is an asset. Students who develop literacy in multiple languages are better prepared for the demands of the international job market and have greater opportunities for cross-cultural communication and understanding.

Bilingual education programs offer numerous benefits that support literacy development and overall academic and personal growth:

Enhanced Cognitive Skills: Bilingual education has been linked to improved cognitive functions, such as problem-solving, multitasking, and memory. Learning in two languages stimulates brain development and enhances cognitive flexibility.

Better Academic Performance: Students in bilingual education programs often outperform their monolingual peers in various academic areas. Bilingual students tend to have stronger literacy skills, better reading comprehension, and higher levels of metalinguistic awareness.

Improved Language Proficiency: Bilingual programs help students achieve high levels of proficiency in both their native language and English. This balanced bilingualism is advantageous for academic success and future career opportunities.

Cultural Awareness and Competence: Bilingual education fosters cultural awareness and competence by integrating cultural content and perspectives into the curriculum. Students learn to appreciate and respect cultural diversity, which is essential in a multicultural society like New Zealand.

Long-Term Economic Benefits: Bilingual individuals have a competitive edge in the job market. Proficiency in multiple languages is highly valued in many professions, including international business, diplomacy, translation, and education. Bilingual education programs, therefore, contribute to long-term economic benefits for individuals and society.

Increased Engagement and Retention: Bilingual education can increase student engagement and reduce dropout rates. When students see their language and culture reflected in the curriculum, they feel more connected to their education, leading to higher retention and graduation rates.

Family and Community Support: Bilingual education programs often involve family and community members, creating a supportive learning environment. This involvement strengthens the home-school connection and encourages a collaborative approach to education.

Call to Action - Literacy in New Zealand

Current levels of literacy in New Zealand

The Analysis of New Zealand Data from the International Adult Literacy survey reveals that 45% of adult New Zealanders are at Levels 1 and 2 for prose literacy, 50% for document literacy, and 49% for quantitative literacy.

New Zealand’s adults outperform the OECD average in literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in technology-rich environments.From 1996 to 2014-15, New Zealand has seen a significant increase of 14 score points in the average literacy proficiency of its adults. New Zealand stands out in the sense that the 35-44 year age group exhibits the highest literacy proficiency, and older New Zealanders (55-65 year-olds) surpass the OECD average for their age group in literacy proficiency.

Addressing the Literacy Crisis

The challenge of low literacy levels among non-English speakers in New Zealand is a matter of considerable concern, and multiple initiatives are in place to tackle this issue. Here are some of the approaches New Zealand is employing to address low literacy levels in non-English speakers.

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Addressing the Literacy Crisis

The Ministry of Education has commissioned research aimed at examining the demographic factors that predict or correlate with low literacy proficiency.

In 2022, The Education Hub published a research report revealing that 35.4% of teenagers face difficulties in reading and writing by the age of 15. This report underscores the importance of enhancing literacy rates to equip young individuals leaving school with the foundational skills required to participate effectively in the workforce.

The National Party has introduced a “back to basics” plan to combat New Zealand’s literacy challenge. This plan entails primary and intermediate students dedicating at least an hour each day to learning reading, writing, and mathematics, along with undergoing “standardized, robust assessment” in these subjects every six months.

It’s important to note that the problem of low literacy among non-English speakers in New Zealand is often attributed to ineffective instruction rather than developmental disabilities. Criticism has been directed at universities and the education system for their reliance on a whole language, ‘multiple cue’ model of reading instruction, which has proven unsuccessful for many New Zealand children, particularly those who struggle with reading.

The Office of Ethnic Affairs produced a report in 2013, emphasizing the significance of migrants acquiring English proficiency, even if it necessitates the use of interpreters to access services.

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Key Takeaways

Understanding Literacy in New Zealand: We defined literacy in the New Zealand context, considering not only the ability to read and write but also to effectively communicate and engage in society. We examined current literacy rates and noted variations across different communities.

Challenges Faced by Non-English Speakers: We explored the specific literacy challenges encountered by non-English speakers, including language barriers, cultural differences, and social obstacles. Case studies illustrated the personal impacts of these challenges.

Impacts of Low Literacy Levels: We discussed the wide-ranging effects of low literacy, including economic impacts on employment and productivity, social implications for community inclusion and healthcare access, and educational challenges for children of non-English speakers.

Current Initiatives and Programs: We reviewed government and non-profit initiatives aimed at improving literacy, analysed their effectiveness, and highlighted successful community-based literacy programs.

Strategies for Enhancing Literacy: We provided recommendations for policy changes, strategies for educators and community organisations, and emphasised the role of technology in supporting literacy development.

The Role of Language in Literacy Development: We discussed the importance of supporting native language literacy alongside English literacy and the benefits of bilingual education programs.

References:
Skill Matter: Further Results From The Survey of Adult Skills
Adult Literacy in New Zealand: Results from the International Adult Literacy Survey
Language, Ethnicity, and Belonging for the Children of Migrants in New Zealand
Literacy and numeracy in New Zealand: findings from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey
The Front Page revisited: How New Zealand’s low literacy rate impacts the economy
Adult Literacy in New Zealand: Results from the International Adult Literacy Survey
Analysis of New Zealand Data from the International Adult Literacy Survey
Addressing the literacy crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand
Balanced literacy and New Zealand’s opportunity to re-write reading instruction history
Adult Literacy in New Zealand: Results from the International Adult Literacy Survey

 

When we think of communication problems in the education sector...

Ismail Akinci
Ismail Akinci | 23 Oct 2019

When we think of communication problems in the education sector, we often think of teachers and educators having trouble connecting with their students. What we don’t always think about, is the challenges they face when trying to connect with parents.

 

Understanding the audience

Four years ago, senior staff at Brighton Grammar School received some surprising internal feedback from recently conducted parent-teacher interviews. Maggie Lynch OAM, the school’s International Parents’ Support Group Coordinator, noted a communication gap with families from non-English speaking backgrounds. As a leading independent school with high levels of academic success with a pro-active international marketing effort, Brighton Grammar School is a popular choice among new Australian families seeking excellent educational outcomes for their children, as well as an immersion in Australian culture. However, some of these new community members were not able to fully engage with the school’s practices and highly valuable parent-teacher interactions as non-English speakers.


A lack of awareness of the benefits of using interpreters meant that non-English speaking families were missing out on valuable feedback from parent-teacher and parent-school interactions. The school reached out to All Graduates to find a possible solution to the communication problem.

Enabling communication

All Graduates quickly began working with the school to introduce a pilot program, testing the viability of interpreters for parent-teacher interviews. Brighton Grammar School Director of Advancement, John Phillips said the pilot quickly delivered significant positive outcomes for the school and parents. With John and Maggie’s valuable insights, we were able to spearhead the introduction of regular language services

“All Graduates has provided interpreter services for our parent-teacher interviews over the past four years. The feedback from our international parents regarding this service has been incredibly positive and affirms our decision to keep offering language services in the future.”

John Phillips
Director of Advancement at Brighton Grammar School

 

Meliora Sequamur

In keeping with the school’s motto, Meliora Seuamur (Let us keep pursuing better things), earlier this year we furthered our relationship with the school to expand multilingual communications to students and families. Recognising not every situation requires an interpreter, All Graduates began working with International Student Liaisons on an awareness and engagement program using LiME, our new multilingual audio messaging system.

“When discussing LiME with All Graduates, I was very interested in how we could apply this to enhance student wellbeing. We are now developing a series of messages to engage with both students and parents around the school’s counselling services.”

 

Maggie Lynch OAM,
International Parents’ Support Group Coordinator at Brighton Grammar School

 

How we used LiME

This is something we’re very excited about. Our latest offering, LiME, is a tailored cloud-based audio solutions package. With it, we can create and manage audio content for a huge range of platforms in more than 100 languages, with specific accents and dialects, spoken by native speakers. Brighton Grammar School is keen utilise LiME across WeChat, SMS, email, and various mobile apps as selected by the school. This process means staff won’t need to develop new documents but could instead repurpose existing communications by creating custom audio content.

 

 

Whether the issue is as minor as an accent or as major as a wholly foreign dialect...

Ellias Appel
Ellias Appel | 8 Aug 2019

Ten year ago we were servicing about 70 languages. That number has swollen to around 150! Whether the issue is as minor as an accent or as major as a wholly foreign dialect, we know that more of you are bumping up against language barriers in your workplace.


So here are our Top Ten Tips to help you break through barriers and emerge, like the phoenix, reborn! (or maybe you’ll just learn how to communicate better with a diverse range of people)

 

1. Use Plain Language

This seems stupid simple, but guarantee you are as guilty of it as I am. Whether you’re interacting with someone who speaks English as their secondary (or tertiary) language, or trying to convey one of those problems that drip with jargony terms to your non-technical workmates, we should all get in the habit of using plain English language whenever possible. Yes, using large, mul-ti-syll-a-bic words makes you sound smart, but you’re going to feel pretty silly if you need to repeat those words 3 times, and then explain their meaning. Keep your conversations like unbuttered toast: plain and simple.

 

2. Consider Easy English

There is a growing trend amongst groups engaging with diverse cultural groups, and those with low literacy, to produce versions of documents in Easy English. This is a style of writing which uses everyday words, simple sentences and images to support the messages. It is different to plain language and incorporates the layout of information on a page (large font, lots of white space). We are seeing more clients who are pursuing this style of writing as a supplement to their more traditional T&Cs and legalese laden documents.

 

3. Speak slowly and clearly

Like my Nana used to say to me “You’re speaking too fast!”, and you probably are too. Slow it down and annunciate. You may be communicating with someone who speaks English fluently, but that doesn’t mean they can clearly understand your excitedly blurted words. 

Take a page from Audrey Hepburn, and speak your words clearly.

 

 

 

4. Professional Development (PD)

If your industry sector is highly technical, filled with jargon, acronyms and abbreviations, you may consider PD something inward facing. Often, capacity building and staff skilling-up are focussed on your internal processes, and not your customer interactions. Creating a culturally responsive workplace means educating not just your customer facing staff members, but also those who interact with culturally diverse workers. Lessons should include awareness of culturally sensitive issues (such as gender relations), as well as language and literacy deficits which may contribute to confusion when discussing certain topics (such as Family Violence, or financial literacy).

 

5. Use graphics effectively

Like the saying goes, ‘A picture paints a thousand words’. It may seem counter-intuitive for a language services company to advocate for images rather than text, but if you are going to effectively communicate some concepts, you can’t beat imagery. It is especially important when you are translating documents that they are correctly reformatted so that graphics are correctly aligned with your text.

 

6. Repetition

Scientifically, people need to learn something more than once to build a solid recall. For this reason it’s important that repetition of key concepts is a core element of your communication framework. While the jury may be out as to whether it’s best to repeat verbatim, or to alter messages slightly in each repetition, from a customer engagement perspective each has their place. Your core messages should be repeated verbatim (for example “If pain persists, please see a doctor”), but your core concepts may be altered to avoid boredom and disengagement by your audience (for example we use two different phrases in our content “Language and literacy are no longer barriers” and “Language and literacy are no longer a barrier to communication”).

 

7. Repetition

See Step 6 above.

 

8. Be patient and respectful

 

The person you are communicating with is having the same difficulties as you, just from the other side. Try not to get frustrated. If the tables were turned, you’d want to be shown patience and compassion. So, do unto others.

Speak carefully and naturally, clearer not louder.

 

 

 

9. Engage a translator

It may be shocking to learn that even amongst highly educated industries such as healthcare and law, there still exists a portion of practitioners that resort to bilingual staff or family members, rather than suitably trained, independent professionals.

Every document that you deem important to your customers should be translated by a qualified team. In some cases it is even appropriate to perform Independent Checking to safeguard against errors in the translation.

 

10. Enlist interpreters

Even reasonably proficient ESL speakers may experience anxiety when speaking English. Do not hesitate to engage with interpreters when it is appropriate for the customer’s experience, and to ensure a positive outcome for your interaction.

 

11. Upgrade your content

 

Video didn’t kill the radio star! Audio still has pride of place as a useful tool to enhance the effectiveness of your documents and improve understanding for low-literacy cohorts. In fact research points out that multilingual audio actually encourages better outcomes for ESL customers.

We developed our LiME Multilingual Messaging to specifically fill this gap in language services by repurposing existing written documents, and creating pre-recorded audio for customer engagements.

 

Hopefully you’ve picked up a trick or two, and can navigate your next cross-language engagement with confidence and capability.

 

 

Language is the link between behaviour and outcome

Ellias Appel
Ellias Appel | 25 Jun 2019

Strategic Justification

A few months ago, the Daniel Andrew led Victorian Labor Government committed to find “$1.8 billion in savings, which amounts to 4 per cent of its [public service] resources [spending]“. This is an interesting amount, because 4% seems like such a pithy number… and then you realise that we’re talking in the billions and you need to adjust the scale of your perspective.

One of the fascinating elements in finding these savings is that there is often a metric of change which blows that 4% out of the water. For example, we recently tendered for a project aimed at changing patient behaviour for after-hours medical treatments. In a study performed by Deloitte in 2016, they identified that:

“The lowest cost pathways for patients seeking after hours primary care are extended and ‘after hours only’ clinics ($93) … Emergency departments [are] the most expensive [pathway] at $1,351 if arriving by ambulance (or treated and not transported) and $368 if self-presenting.”

To put this in perspective, the inappropriate use of Emergency Departments (i.e. non-critical presentations) significantly impacts the capacity of the healthcare system, as well as incurring costs of 4-14 times their primary health care equivalent. These behaviours are often a consequence of a complex series of factors, but in the case of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse patient groups, there is often an underlying health literacy deficit, specifically regarding awareness of health services.

Census data suggest a strong likelihood of underlying poor literacy and poor English language abilities in the CALD community, and this may additionally be stymieing the effectiveness of traditional campaigns and resources to effect change in the consumer decision making process for these groups. Consequently, creating engaging content and positively impacting on the customer experience is not as simple as translating written materials.

As shown in a research study we recently posted, audio can be the ‘missing link’ in effective engagement for groups with poor English language ability. Additionally, because of varying cultural trends in navigating power-dynamics, it is also important to ensure that your content is assessed for cultural appropriateness and translated by an appropriately qualified professional.

We encourage organisations that are seeking to engage with CALD groups, whether on a large scale (geographically or in population terms) or in highly targeted niche interactions, to explore data rich engagement options, such as online audio delivery, trackable links, IP geolocation and other related options.

Customer engagement is crucial to improving health literacy outcomes, but the same is true for other preferred behavioural outcomes you are trying to instil in your audience. Language informs effective communication within both marketing and resource development, and this is ultimately the linkage between your messages, and the customer outcomes you are pursuing.

 

All Graduates
All Graduates | 8 Apr 2019

Australia’s population is booming, with migrants of all types coming to our shores from all corners of the globe. Whilst this makes for a vibrant and diverse society (not to mention an expansive list of takeaway food options), it has also introduced complexities in the operations of public and private sectors. A growing CALD population (possibly struggling with low literacy in their native language), regulatory, ethical and cultural obligations – all of these have made the simple, much less so.

One of the areas in which we are regularly called to engage with our clients is that of operational efficiency. We produce a copious number of reports and analyses for government departments and companies, describing the interface between organisations and non-English speaking clients. We are often the catalyst for the introduction of technologies to enhance this interface, and also to improve the underlying systems with which an organisation may facilitate that interface.


The LiME Multilingual Messaging system evolved from the need to decrease communication barriers, and improve operational efficiencies for businesses and organisations. It has been designed as a sophisticated but easy-to-use tool to facilitate engagement with non-English speaking customers and those with literacy challenges.

 

“From the moment a non-English speaking client walks into your office, the challenge you face is the balance between meeting their needs with the inherent cost and complexity of doing so.”

 

A few years back we were introduced to a multilingual telephone message line (IVR) thanks to a looming Australian Electoral Commission tender. This inelegant proposal planted the seed which we grew into a platform-agnostic messaging system. While the phrasing may be unfamiliar, in practice this is what you do every day – you send your messages on whichever communication platform is available, appropriate or convenient. Whether you are using the web, social media, chat apps or calling an information line, the platform is irrelevant. The ​message ​is the crucial component.

Through a continuous and innovative development process, and ongoing input from our clients (and a Melbourne appropriate volume of coffee consumption), LiME was developed to offer holistic solutions to organisations engaging with CALD groups without sacrificing operational efficiencies.

 

LiME multilingual messaging system
– it ain’t just a member of the citrus family

Extensive research has shown that language barriers cause anxiety and create obstacles for non-English speakers to both engage with society at large, and access services in general. We very often see that our increasingly information-driven economy results in increased workloads and reduced efficiencies when interpreters are utilised in one-way communications. Additionally language translation services, while fundamental to ensuring the proliferation of an equitable society, are not only impacted by low literacy rates among non-English speakers, but also among the general Australian population. In spite of this knowledge, it never occurred to us until we started engaging with our clients just how transformational our LiME system had the potential to be.

 

Technology offers many benefits to language services

We understand the importance of message parity. Whilst AI technologies such as Google translate and Siri are handy day-to-day tools, they are not adequate for use in business and government communications. We recently had this exact issue raised with us by one of our private school clients, as well as the Project Manager of a pilot DHS program. LiME addresses this issue by drastically reducing the risk of miscommunication while improving access to information. We are currently working with multiple organisations that are using this system to reduce the burden on language service teams when communicating repetitive messages, while simultaneously improving access to appropriate language communications for their increasingly diverse clients.

We consider LiME as an adjunct to interpreter services, offering improved efficiencies in one-way message delivery, prior to hand-off to an interpreter if it becomes necessary. We know anecdotally and through our own internal reviews that there are often issues in communication parity when involving interpreters for “real-time translation” of complicated language documents (medical, legal or statutory). Our clients consistently point towards LiME offering immense potential in resolving these issues.

 

“LiME utilises multi-platform technology to create meaninful, comprehensive communications where and when you need them. Discover how it can work for you.”

 

All Graduates
All Graduates | 20 Feb 2024

Good communication skills are essential as we interact with a diverse range of individuals, including non-English speaking clients. Assessing the effectiveness of communication may be difficult to measure, yet its undeniable impact resonates powerfully.

What Is Effective Communication?

Effective communicators possess a distinct style characterized by clarity, empathy, and adaptability. They articulate their messages with precision, ensuring that their audience comprehends the information easily. Moreover, they demonstrate empathy by understanding the perspectives and emotions of others. 

Active listening is a cornerstone of their approach, as they attentively engage with speakers, validating their viewpoints and signaling genuine interest. By actively listening, effective communicators create an environment conducive to meaningful dialogue and collaboration, ultimately enhancing understanding and achieving shared goals.

Understanding Non-English Speaking Backgrounds

Individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds access information from various sources using diverse strategies tailored to their linguistic preferences and cultural contexts. They often rely on multilingual platforms, such as bilingual websites, newspapers, or community forums, to obtain information in their native language.

Additionally, they may utilize translation and interpreting services to navigate content available in other languages. Social networks within their communities also serve as valuable channels for sharing and disseminating information. 

All Graduates NZ - Translation and Interpreting Services

Digital communications offer immense value for individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds, providing them with unprecedented access to information, connections, and resources. Messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Telegram enable seamless communication with family, friends, and communities across borders, fostering a sense of belonging and facilitating real-time interaction in their native languages. 

Similarly, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter serve as virtual spaces for sharing news, cultural insights, and personal experiences, allowing non-English speakers to stay connected with their communities and participate in global conversations. The availability of on-demand audio content through platforms like podcasts and audiobooks offers an immersive and accessible way for non-English speakers to consume information, learn new languages, and explore diverse perspectives at their own pace. 

The Power of Translation and Interpreting Services

Translation and interpreting services serve as vital avenues for effective communication. These services facilitate the exchange of ideas, information, and emotions across linguistic barriers, enabling individuals and organizations to connect with diverse audiences worldwide. Whether it’s translating documents, interpreting conversations, or bridging cultural nuances, these services play a crucial role in ensuring clarity and understanding among multilingual parties.

  1. Accurate Communication: Translators and interpreters ensure accurate transmission of messages, minimizing misunderstandings and misinterpretations that may occur due to language barriers.

  2. Cultural Sensitivity: They possess cultural competence, understanding the nuances of language and behavior, which allows for effective communication tailored to the cultural background of non-English speakers.

  3. Access to Information: Utilizing translators and interpreters expands access to information across various domains such as healthcare, legal matters, education, and business, enabling non-English speakers to make informed decisions.

  4. Inclusivity: Translation and interpretation services promote inclusivity by breaking down language barriers and allowing non-English speakers to participate fully in societal activities, contributing to social cohesion and diversity.

  5. Professionalism: Trained translators and interpreters adhere to professional standards and ethics, ensuring confidentiality, accuracy, and impartiality in their communication efforts.

  6. Efficiency: By facilitating clear and efficient communication, translators and interpreters save time and resources for both non-English speakers and service providers, leading to smoother interactions and transactions.

  7. Empowerment: Access to translation and interpretation services empowers non-English speakers to express themselves, advocate for their needs, and engage actively in their communities, promoting their rights and well-being.

  8. Legal Compliance: In legal settings, translators and interpreters ensure compliance with regulations by accurately conveying legal documents, statements, and proceedings, safeguarding the rights of non-English speakers.

     

    All Graduates NZ - Non-English Speaking Backgrounds

At All Graduates, we believe in the transformative power of effective communication. As a leading provider of translation and interpreting services, we specialize in breaking down language barriers to facilitate seamless interactions and connections across diverse communities. Our team of highly skilled translators and interpreters is dedicated to ensuring clarity, accuracy, and cultural sensitivity in every communication encounter.

Whether it’s bridging linguistic gaps in healthcare, legal, educational, or business settings, we are committed to empowering individuals and organizations to communicate confidently and inclusively. With All Graduates, effective communication begins, opening doors to understanding, collaboration, and success.

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The anxiety of learning English as a second language, and the challenges non-English speakers face

Elise Hearst
Elise Hearst | 1 Apr 2019

I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich

 

If only integrating into Aussie society was as simple as chugging a beer and smashing a vegemite sandwich. With 1 in 4 Australians born overseas, and a thriving international student population, many new residents in Australia need to undergo the daunting task of learning English in adulthood. Extensive research points to significant deficits in terms of access to services and health literacy for Non-English speakers. In most cases the onus falls on the user to gain the requisite skills they need to effectively access public services, including health and welfare systems. On top of this, new arrivals need to manage day-to-day interactions with dinky-di Aussies, who probably won’t be speaking the Queen’s English.

Learning the local language can be an intimidating and anxiety inducing task (Woodrow, 2006). Consider the simple issue of geographically distinct colloquialisms. Ask a Victorian what ‘pluggers’ are and they’ll look at you quizzically. It’s QLD slang for thongs in case you were wondering. Now imagine being invited to a BBQ and being told it’s “casual dress, wear thongs”. A quick trip to google translate would lead you to a very different item of clothing than the common flip-flop. Can you imagine how intimidating this could be for someone learning English?!

 

In professional circumstances there are many great communication solutions available which can be used to improve engagement with your non-native speakers, and address the inherent deficit in their ability to access your services.

 

A 2006 paper delivered by Lindy Woodrow (Honorary Senior Lecturer in TESOL¹, University of Sydney) details the results from her study about foreign language anxiety. Woodrow looked at students in their final months of studying English, prior to enrolling in university courses in Australia. The study revealed that learning English as a second language can be a negative and potentially damaging experience both in and out of the classroom (Woodrow, 2006). This may impact a learners’ capacity to master their new language and achieve confidence in handling day-to-day communications.

¹Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

“Anxiety experienced in communication in English can be debilitating”

Lindy Woodrow

 

Living in a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder

 

According to the Department of Education, the number of international students in Australia increased by 12% in 2018. Foreign students currently make up more than a quarter of enrolments across varying universities. The majority of these students (31%) hail from China, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam. Many of these students are seeking to access Permanent Residency in Australia via a Skilled Migration pathway. One of the prerequisites to enrolment is adequate English language skills. Research reveals, however, that in-class anxiety as a consequence of language skill is commonplace, and further research suggests that this anxiety may continue as they enter society and the workforce. This is certainly a concerning situation when we consider that in 2017-2018 there were 111,099 Permanent Residencies delivered under the Skilled Migration stream.

Evidence from Woodrow’s study shows that above all else, the top two stressors in learning English are speaking with native speakers outside of the classroom, and presenting in front of a group. This is not one of those situations where imagining everyone in their underwear is going to solve the underlying issue.

The classroom is a fairly structured and predictable environment, and in that sense it is distinctly different from social, public and workplace environments where there is a high degree of linguistic unpredictability and situational variance. Seemingly trivial interactions with passers-by, or a lack of familiarity with procedures (coupled with a limited ability to convey this), can become a significant issue. The challenge for organisations that interface with Non-English speakers is not just in managing the lack of linguistic competence and comprehension (in their native tongue as well as English), but also in creating an organisational awareness around cultural sensitivities and blind spots.

Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?​ ​You better run, you better take cover

 

What does this mean for your organisation?

Woodrow’s study suggests that the anxiety experienced by Non-English speakers comes down to three main points

  • Difficulty in navigating unpredictable situations
  • Difficulty in conveying their desired meaning
  • Difficulty in speaking in group scenarios

 

“Anxiety is clearly an issue in language learning and has a debilitating effect on speaking English for some”

Lindy Woodrow.

 

There are many rich linguistic resources available to both learners and organisations to lubricate interactions, improve engagement and reduce this inherent anxiety. For example, encouraging participation in social activities, accessing local council and library services, or utilising Non-English resources to build knowledge of and familiarity with services and procedures.

According to the Department of Education, universities are now seeking to diversify their international student population, with figures showing big increases in the numbers of students from Brazil and Colombia. With the international student population growing, and also contributing to a significant number of permanent migrants to Australia every year, service providers should rethink their approach to non-English speaking customers. It is important to take into account cultural sensitivities and potential anxieties, whilst actively seeking ways to improve the effectiveness of and appeal of client interface points. This will ultimately enhance client engagement, improve outcomes and contribute to a culture of inclusion – and that would be, well, bloody bonza mate.

 

Think about how you can help your customers from non-English speaking backgrounds ease their anxiety.

 

References

  • ABS Australian Social Trends 2102.0 June 2009
  • https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/research-and-stats/files/report-migration-program-2017-18.p df

 

When your child asks for sushi in their lunchbox instead of a white bread vegemite sandwich, you know times have changed.

Elise Hearst
Elise Hearst | 25 Mar 2019

A stroll to your local shopping strip, or a scroll down your preferred food delivery app, reveals a lot about the culinary tastes and trends of our nation. Fish and chips, charcoal chicken, burger and a beer – once synonymous with Aussie culture, no longer dominate the restaurant and take-away market. They have been superseded by souvlakis, pizzas, and sushi; and more recently by curries, banh mi, and of course, the burrito (extra sour cream, extra guac – thanks). According to the data, Australians’ taste in food has evolved beyond meat pies to something far more representative of our status as a prosperous, food-loving multicultural nation. Market research analysts NPD declared in 2018 that ethnic fast food is the most popular cuisine among Australian millennials. It begs the question:

“In 2019, what is Australian food?”

 

You may as well ask “What does an Australian look like?” There’s no straightforward answer to either. Our palate is as diverse as the attendants at an Australian citizenship ceremony, or an AFL match (sorry, Rugby League if you’re from up north). As the song goes: “We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come.” Since colonial times our interest in food has been largely shaped by global trends and waves of migration. An Australian summer staple, the pavlova was named after a visiting Russian dancer in the 1920s (apologies New Zealand, we know you claim its origin, but we’ll still claim it for dessert). Australian pub classic the chicken parma was inspired by an Italian eggplant dish. The well-loved Dim Sim (or “dimmie” as it’s often nicknamed), was in fact an Australian creation by a Chinese restaurateur in Melbourne in the 1940s, and has since become as ubiquitous as Smiths Chips. The Chiko Roll was born from the mind of a Bendigo boilermaker and made its debut in Wagga Wagga, a far cry from the land of the spring roll. But surely, Australian food has to be more complex than a bit of meringue or a deep-fried dumpling?! What does seem to be clear, is that since Australia began welcoming migrants from all backgrounds – regardless of race or religion – so too, have Australians embraced ethnic cuisines, and adapted them in our own unique ways.

“I’ve always said that I think Australian food is defined by the many ethnic communities that have migrated to Australia and the way we have as a collective, embraced their cooking techniques, ingredients and style”

Australian chef Dan Hong

 

This is evident not only in the changing face of the local takeaway, but in our rabid appetite for cooking shows with their casts of culturally diverse chefs and “reality” players. We can’t get enough of celebrity chefs – from Chinese-Australian Kylie Kwong to Greek-Australian George Calombaris, Malaysian-born Poh Ling Yeow to Vietnamese-Australian Luke Nguyen – and we are certainly happy to patronise their restaurants too. Calombaris, of Masterchef fame, is now the owner of 20 restaurants offering his signature Greek cuisine. In fact, over the last four years, ethnic cuisines such as Mexican, Turkish, Indian, Greek and Italian, have been the fastest growing foodservice categories, with sales increasing by 63%. NPD attributes the rise in popularity to the active participation of millennials in food and restaurant culture. Which perhaps is also code for millennials being very comfortable in the multicultural landscape, perhaps even more so than previous generations.

 

“Ethnic foods are fast becoming as Aussie as lamingtons and snags wrapped in sliced white bread.”

 

If we look at cosmopolitan Melbourne as a microcosm of multicultural Australia, you can see how different geographical areas are defined by their cultural specificity. Where the Victorian capital city used to have just Chinatown, there are now many distinct areas that are known for their migrant communities and the cuisines they are famous for. Locals and tourists alike are willing to travel far and wide in search of the next taste sensation. They’ll venture to Richmond just for a Vietnamese Pho, Footscray for Ethiopian injera, Oakleigh for a Greek Moussaka, Balaclava for a bagel, and Box Hill for Yum Cha. As we embrace these immigrant foods we are inadvertently reshaping our use of language, and evolving our national identity, creating pathways to not only appreciating those cultures, but understanding them. This results in immigrant languages and foods appearing in our day to day discourse and slang. Think how quickly Australians can turn a food phrase into a colloquialism: sanger, barbie, smashed avo, barra, snag. And think again about more recent incarnations of popular items on menus: sliders (mini burgers), bowls (rice, noodles), and wraps of any and every kind (falafel, burrito, souvlaki, – wrap it in gluten and we’ll eat it). No need to take an expensive trip to Southeast Asia. Restaurants flagrantly use the terms “hawker food” or “street food” to intimate the authenticity of their offerings.

“Food is the ultimate tool in fostering conversation and understanding between cultures.”

 

If anything, Australians’ relationship with food signals a shift in attitudes towards diverse cultures, races and religions. Food encourages conversation and understanding. Nick Temple, from Indigenous restaurant Charcoal Lane in Melbourne says, “People talk about Australia not having a cuisine… But when you’re in a space where you don’t recognise half of the ingredients on your plate, you’re not scared to ask questions. And that opens it up to more questions. It makes people recognise how much they don’t know about the country they live in.”What and how we eat changes the way we think about food, how we speak about food, and ultimately how we speak to each other. The feel-good takeaway (excuse the pun) from all this? Our rapid embrace of immigrant foods over the last ten years reflects our country’s capacity for tolerance and integration of an increasingly broad multicultural landscape.

“What’s next on the menu?”

 

We could hypothesise about the next food trend till the cows (or vegan friendly beef substitutes) come home. But there is no doubt that ethnic foods, just like ethnic culture is now intertwined with our personal identity. And more than ever, it is reflecting the core idea of Australia as a nation of battlers, each of us seeking a chance to flourish and succeed in a sometimes harsh and unforgiving physical and political climate. So, with the latest waves of new migrants coming from countries like South Sudan, Somalia,Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Syria and Iraq, we can definitely expect new food trends. Before long you’ll probably be wrapping your mouth around some new taste sensations, and then, the Australianisation of those new tastes, with accompanying slang drifting into common parlance. So, pass the dead horse, and let’s go get some lunch.

“How have ethnic immigration trends impacted your business? Are you struggling to connect with culturally diverse communities?”

 

References
  • https://qsrmedia.com.au/research/news/aussies-spending-more-ethnic-restaurants-study-says
  • https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2017/11/12/are-we-any-closer-knowing-what-australian-f ood
  • https://mattersjournal.com/stories/swallowingourhistory
  • https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/05/south-sudan-somalia-and-iran-excluded-from-one-of-australias-refugee-programs
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