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We Speak Translate Project

The We Speak Translate project is a first of its kind collaboration between Google Translate and the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) utilizing the Google Translate app for refugee resettlement and newcomer inclusion in communities.

In October 2016, ICA’s Community Integration Coordinator, Kate Longpre approached Google Translate with the idea for the We Speak Translate project.  The project objective was to address the number one barrier to new immigrant integration: language.  Furthermore, Kate was interested in repurposing technology, as a tool and symbol for welcoming communities, which value diversity and inclusion.  Google Translate was immediately interested in the project concept and in April 2017 the We Speak Translate pilot project launched in Victoria, BC, the first location worldwide to initiate the project.

“Google is humbled and excited to be supporting this project with the goal of helping New Canadians make the often challenging transition to life in Canada through language and engagement”. – Roque Silva, Interaction Designer, Google Translate 

The project involves training community stakeholders, organizations and institutions in the Google Translate app.  Upon completion of the 40-minute training, participants receive a We Speak Translate decal, a visible symbol of inclusion and commitment to promoting diversity and communication across language barriers. Familiarity with the Google Translate app establishes a common platform for communication while newcomers develop their English language skills.

“When I see the We Speak Translate sticker in a window, I feel confident that people want to speak with me and get to know me.” – Ibrahim Hajibrahim, Syrian Resettled Refugee

To date, over 1200 community members and stakeholders have received Google Translate training through the We Speak Translate project. Project training has occurred for staff at local libraries, recreation centre’s, social service organizations, museums and banks.  We Speak Translate training’s are now available via webinar to meet the interest in the project across Canada and beyond.  Organizations, businesses and institutions that serve new immigrants and refugees can benefit from participating in the We Speak Translate project and training.

“The We Speak Translate program opens up a world of engagement possibilities for immigrants, newcomers and tourists, especially in small communities where language resources may be lacking.  The Google Translate app, is a big boost to the museum sector in BC as we strive to be more inclusive, more welcoming, and better able to meet the needs of our communities and visitors.” – Ben Fast, Programs and Communications Coordinator, BC Museums Association

Upcoming Public We Speak Translate Training’s:

Upcoming in person training:
Monday, December 4, 2017
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
ICA administrative office – 1806 Vancouver St.
To register visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-registration-40112121435

Thursday, January 18, 2018
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
ICA administrative office – 1806 Vancouver St.
To register visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-registration-40112269879

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm
ICA administrative office – 1806 Vancouver St.
To register visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-registration-40112509596

Upcoming webinar training:
Thursday, December 14, 2017
9:30 am – 10:30 am (PST)
To register visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-webinar-registration-40111448422

Friday, January 19, 2018
9:30 am – 10:30 am (PST)
To register visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-webinar-registration-40111757346

Friday, February 2, 3018
9:30 am – 10:30 am (PST)
To register visit the following link https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/we-speak-translate-training-webinar-registration-40111925850

Training Goals & Benefits:

  1. Encourage welcoming communities that value diversity, inclusion and integration.
  2. Become familiar with the Google Translate app (free, downloadable app for smartphones and tablets).
  3. Establish a common platform for communication with newcomers while English language skills develop.

Training Logistics:
The workshop can be delivered at a convenient location for your organization or business with access to WiFi. ICA offers training’s once a month which are open to public (registration required). Webinars training’s are available by requested.

Length of Training:
30 – 45 minute

Group Size:
Suggested number of participants at 25-35 persons/minimum 8 participants.

We Speak Translate Decal circle


Training Costs:
The We Speak Translate training is free. The training includes a facilitator, Google Translate training and We Speak Translate decals for all participants.


Training Format:

  1. Introduction and overview of project/objective (5-10 mins)
  2. Google Translate training presentation (20-30 mins)
    Explore the capacity of the Google Translate app
    Learn how to effectively use the Google Translate app
    Interact with the app
  3. Distribution of We Speak Translate decals

We Speak Translate Training Facilitator:

Kate Longpre is the Community Integration Coordinator at ICA.  Kate works strategically across sectors to ensure that resettled refugees entering the Greater Victoria area are successfully integrated into welcoming communities. Kate approached Google Translate in September 2016 with the idea for the We Speak Translate project. In April 2017 the project launched in Victoria, BC, the first location worldwide to initiate the project.  To date over 1000 participants have been training in the We Speak Translate project.

Additional Information:
For more information or to arrange We Speak Translate training please contact:

Kate Longpre
Community Integration Coordinator
Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria
250-388-4728 ext. 167

Project Media:

http://victoriafoundation.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Vital-Signs-2017_low-res.pdf (pg. 8-9)


City of Victoria, Committee of the Whole – We Speak Translate training










Project Funders:

UWGVFundedProg12-2Google Translate


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