Hacking the Future of Canada’s Language Industry

group discussion- unconference logo in back

MCIS Language Solutions Develops Innovative Solutions for the Language Sector

Toronto, Ontario, July 21, 2017 – A passionate crowd of language service providers, tech professionals, entrepreneurs and engaged citizens descended on the Centre for Social Innovation yesterday to hack the future of Canada’s language industry.

There for MCIS Language Solutions’ The Future of Language Services (Un) conference, these participants learned about and discussed some of the challenges faced in Canada and around the globe as we increasingly communicate and engage across the world’s hundreds of languages.  The challenges covered included:

– What are the gaps in the current language services system; who is being missed and why?

– Funding the future of language support – business models for the next 10 years and beyond

– How tech and digital tools can effectively and efficiently help increase language access and improve outcomes

– How to harness government assets to support delivery of language services in innovative ways

As an introduction to these challenges, the audience got a sneak peek at WelcomeHomeTO’s upcoming report Breaking the Language Barrier: Innovative Language Solutions helping Syrian Newcomers on the Path of Integration.  Some of the problems highlighted by WelcomeHomeTO: a lack of coordination between language service providers, language services that are inaccessible to those who need them most (for example, language classes for newcomers without daycare nearby) and a lack of rigorous assessment of program outcomes.

Recognizing that the number of Canadians whose mother tongue is other than English or French keeps rising (Statistics Canada), it is critical to address these structural challenges now.

Some bold ideas that came out of last night’s session:

– government should put money where its mouth is by reallocating resources set aside for official language translations to “working” languages, that are representative of our diversity thereby truly supporting its multiculturalism agenda

– government should support the creation of apps that newcomers can use to navigate systems, back-ended by volunteer multilingual speakers

– use of government assets such as space, cars and equipment will help improve access to language services through professional interpreters where and when they are needed

– government must support and invest in training for language service professionals to use disruptive technology, assuring Canada’s position as a global multilingual hub

By investing in creative solutions to structural problems like these, Canada has the opportunity to model for the world how our multilingual, multicultural society truly is our greatest asset.

MCIS Language Solutions will be posting our report and initiatives that follow on our website www.mcislanguages.com.  Anyone interested in pursuing any of the ideas posted will have our support.

Quotes

“The face of Canada is changing rapidly as is the manner in which we are interacting and transacting with the rest of the world; fresh insights and digital tools are constantly providing new ways to support translation, interpretation and all other language services. We are committed to being leaders in bridging the language gap.”- Latha Sukumar, Executive Director, MCIS Language Solutions

“We want to bring not only language professionals, but people from all walks of life into the conversation. This way, we bring a holistic perspective to the room and come up with the right ideas to help modernize the language services field.” – Zoya Khan, (Un) Conference Event Manager

“WelcomeHomeTO’s English as Second Language panel chat surfaced a lot of structural challenges in how Canada offers language learning to newcomers.  MCIS is taking the next step and innovating ideas to strengthen the system.”– Craig Carter-Edwards, Co-founder of WelcomeHomeTO

About MCIS Language Solutions

MCIS Language Solutions is a non-profit social enterprise that has been offering interpretation, translation and language consulting services nationally for 28 years.

Media Contact

Zoya Khan, Social Impact & Public Relations Coordinator, MCIS Language Solutions, zoya@mcis.on.ca

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