Year in Review: Top 5 Moments of 2018 at MCIS

By: Jack Xu

By Sanah Matadar, Social Media Coordinator

Another year come and gone. As we reach the end of 2018 and begin our celebrations to ring in the new year, it feels inevitable to reminisce over the past 365 days. While major and minor events – political and apolitical – shifted the global landscape, MCIS had a few of its own moments worth remembering. As a result, we’re proud to present MCIS’ Top 5 Moments of 2018 (in chronological order):

  1. 1. Creation of Vendor Management

The MCIS office is divided into departments that often collaborate on projects, but at the end of the day, each serve their own purposes. Among these departments are Interpretation Services, Translation Services, Training, Social Impact, Sales and Marketing, Finance, IT, Human Resources and Internal Operations. In March of 2018, MCIS implemented the Vendor Management Department. This was a watershed moment for MCIS, where recruitment of language professionals – previously handled by the Training Department, feedback on assignments – previously handled by Sales and Marketing, Interpretation Services, Translation Services and Training, and vendor relationship building – previously handled by each affected department, have all been consolidated under one department. In creating this department, MCIS is making a commitment to strengthen our relationship with all of vendors – interpreters, translators, training facilitators, test markers, voice talents, transcriptionists, and so on. The new department had already been instrumental in ensuring the success of one of MCIS’ busiest times of 2018, the November Parent-Teacher Interviews (more on this below). It would be difficult to imagine that this year’s Parent-Teacher Interviews would have had the same success without the dedication and hard work of the Vendor Management staff along with their Interpretation Services colleagues.

More on MCIS’ Vendor Management department on this YouTube video.

  1. 2. Releasing the online version of Translator Training

In May of this year, MCIS launched the Online Translator Training Program (OTTP). It was months in the making, adapting onsite course content and combining them with successful aspects of our e-Learning modules, adding voice narration, and testing the program out repeatedly. The OTTP, as its on-site training counterpart (OSTTP), would not have been possible without the generous grant by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The OTTP is a language neutral training program that contributes to MCIS’ mission to improve the access to critical information and services through high quality language solutions, by giving ad hoc translators in languages of lesser diffusion the proper knowledge, tools and best practices normally taught in university programs, but not available for their language combinations. As a bonus, there is even a module on managing a translation business. Students enrolled in the 14-week OTTP are allowed to complete training at their own pace, with a few mandatory webinars.

As part of the commitment to our funder, the first 500 people who register and graduate from our translator training programs will receive it free of charge. See more information on our Translator Training program here.

  1. 3. Launching the Interpreting for LGBQTIA* Newcomers Training

As language professionals, we at MCIS are aware that there’s more to the art of interpretation than simply knowing multiple languages fluently. Indeed, clients often have individual needs, such as pronoun and identification preferences to which interpreters should know how to respond to appropriately. Moreover, MCIS’ role in providing language services for refugee claimants is meant to be helpful to all newcomers, many who seek asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Thus, as part of our Continued Competence training, in 2018 we launched ‘Interpreting for LGBQTIA* Newcomers,’ first as a full-day webinar in the summer, and then turning into a 2-hour online training program, free-of-charge for all MCIS students, alumni, and all professional interpreters in Ontario.

Since the program’s inception, hundreds of interpreters have taken advantage of the then free workshop, and now free online training module.

Click here to view a testimonial on this training program, by MCIS Account Manager Nazanin Azari.

  1. 4. Parent-Teacher Interviews

As first term report cards are sent home each Fall, Parent-Teacher Interviews are an annual event in which the demand for interpreters spike to the highest levels of the entire year. This past November, MCIS recruited and sent interpreters across Southern Ontario, helping with interpretation needs with four large school boards: the Toronto-District School Board, The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, The Peel District School Board, and the Thames Valley District School Board. A tireless effort and hard work shared between Interpretation Services and Vendor Management led to MCIS fulfilling approximately 87 percent of the 2,139 requests received. Successfully completing these assignments meant that our language professionals helped to bridge the various language barriers (among them Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, and many more) that existed between parents and teachers, and to allow all parties to communicate what was required to help the students succeed. At a conservative estimate of two interviews per appointment, MCIS’ dedicated interpreters helped over 5,000 individuals over the course of mere days, including parents, teachers and most importantly, the students.

Click here to view our blog post on the Parent-Teacher Interviews.

  1. 5. Latha’s Big Win

In September, MCIS Executive Director, Latha Sukumar, was named finalist for the Social Change Award at the 2018 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. Fast-forward to November 21st, and in the presence of her close friends and family, Latha was pronounced winner of the prestigious award, 1 of 7 women recognized at the evening awards gala. While the award was intended for Latha alone, the pride of Latha’s win was felt throughout MCIS. As Latha said, ‘as an immigrant who set out to create a better life for women and children, without knowing how I was going to achieve it, I found MCIS Language Solutions, which served as an incredible platform to achieve my dream. If this award sheds light on the work that MCIS’ language professionals, board and staff do in helping vulnerable women, children and all marginalized groups receive access to critical information and services, in their own languages, then it would have served its purpose.’

Click here to read our blog post on Latha’s win.

As the award came near the end of the year, it felt like an acknowledgment on how far MCIS has come, and a reminder of the life-changing work that all MCIS staff contribute to. Here’s hoping that 2019 is just as eventful, uplifting, and filled with opportunities to grow language services and improve your global voice.