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We Speak Translate Project

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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 free, 40-50 minute in person or webinar 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.  The Google Translate app is a tool that can support communication however, it cannot replace an accredited or professional translator/interpreter.  We Speak Translate Decal circle

“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 1800 community members and stakeholders have received Google Translate training through the We Speak Translate project. Project training has occurred across Canada for community members, stakeholders, organizations, businesses and institutions.

“We (Google Translate) are thrilled to see the continued success of this program, which helps newcomers overcome the challenge of settling into a new environment with a new language.  Happy anniversary, We Speak Translate!” – Barak Turovsky, Google Translate’s Head of Product

What do the We Speak Translate project/training participants say? Click here to check out the WST evaluation infographic!

“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:

Friday, June 8, 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-44193180994

Friday, July 13, 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-46021273869

Friday, July 27, 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-46021403256

For a list of all upcoming We Speak Translate webinar training’s across Canada click here

Webinar registration procedure

  1. Register for the We Speak Translate webinar using the Eventbrite links provided.
  2. Choose either the free registration or $6.00 registration which includes mailing of the We Speak Translate decals.
  3. An Eventbrite confirmation email will be sent which will include a link to the webinar.
  4. Visit the webinar link 10 minutes before the webinar start time.
  5. Please have smartphone or device available for the training with the Google Translate app installed.

Organize your own We Speak Translate training

Organizations, business, institutions and community groups can arrange for a free, 40-50 minute, We Speak Translate training in person or via webinar at a date and time convenient for participants.

The following video was created by two University of Victoria students, Jazz Chodak and Tanner Lorenson to promote the We Speak Translate project to local businesses.

We Speak Translate from ICA Victoria on Vimeo.

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:
We Speak Translate training can be delivered in person at a convenient date, time and location for your organization or business with access to WiFi, projector, screen and speakers or Smart tv. Webinar training’s are also available across Canada and beyond.

Length of Training:
40 – 50 minute

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

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 and Resources:
We Speak Translate Project and Training Evaluation Infographic (January, 2018)

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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