RMIT University

30 November 2011

Breaking the language barrier

International speakers joined key Australian experts at RMIT University’s Legal and Police Interpreting Conference, held recently at Storey Hall.

Professor David Hayward speaks at the Legal and Police Interpreting Conference

Professor David Hayward addresses the conference, acknowledging the crucial role interpreters play in the legal and police context.

The conference was hosted by RMIT Translating and Interpreting, in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning.

International and Australian speakers addressed issues including the training needs of legal police interpreters, the provision of language services in legal and police contexts and the interaction between courts and interpreters.

Professor David Hayward, Dean, Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, welcomed the participants to the conference.

“For practitioners and academics in the field of translation and interpreting, conferences like this one offer opportunities to build professional capital,” Professor Hayward said.

“The knowledge and networks that are pooled at events like these are important for teaching and professional practice, as well as for research.”

Michael Gidley, Member for Mount Waverley, representing the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Nicholas Kotsiras, opened the conference and confirmed the Victorian Government’s support for language services in assisting community members’ access to government services.

Keynote speaker, Professor Sandra Hale, from the University of New South Wales, emphasised the urgent need for a national protocol for court interpreting services.

The event was sponsored by VITS Language Link, which was represented by Frans Moens, Operations Manager.

“It gave VITS the opportunity to align itself with RMIT in legal interpreting, an important subcategory in the language services environment,” Mr Moens said.

“With a good attendance and a great range of topics, the day was a fantastic success.”

Translating and Interpreting Discipline Head, Sedat Mulayim, said: “Interpreters play an increasingly vital role in national and global security contexts and such specialised conferences help build up scholarship and much needed empirical research in this important field.”

The one-day event was attended by more than 130 participants from a range of groups and organisations including training providers, service providers, interpreting practitioners, community organisations, Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

Topics covered included working conditions of interpreters in courts and tribunals, interpreter-mediated police interviews and interpreters in various community, criminal and national security settings, as well as gender and other issues in interpreter-mediated interviews.

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