NWU interpreting services a showcase to the outside world

NWU interpreting services a showcase to the outside world

Prof Marlene Verhoef, Director: Institutional Language Directorate of the North-West University (NWU) and Mr Johan Blaauw, Head of Language Services, will be delivering a paper on the possibilities of interpreting services for the school environment at the empowerment seminar of the Mpumalanga Region of the South African Teachers’ Union (SATU) in Ermelo on 19 June 2007.

This paper is the result of one of two pilot projects conducted by the NWU’s Language Directorate at outside organisations, namely an interpreting project at Frikkie Meyer High School in Thabazimbi and interpreting services at the Potchefstroom Agricultural College. At Frikkie Meyer High School, the classes for the gr. 11 computer studies pupils are offered in Afrikaans, with interpreting services into English.

The project was started after the principal, Mr Deon Azar, attended an open day at the NWU where interpreting services were supplied, and he immediately recognised the possibilities thereof for the school environment.

“The strategic aim with the pilot project at Frikkie Meyer High School is to determine to what extent educational interpreting services can contribute to facilitate a multilingual educational environment,” says Prof Verhoef.

Mr Azar, who is going to deliver the paper with Prof Verhoef and Mr Blaauw at SATU's empowerment seminar, said the following in a recent status report: “I believe that the interpreting system could be a solution for the language issue in education – in primary as well as secondary education.”

With respect to the pilot project at the Potchefstroom Agricultural College, all the first-year subjects as well as some second-year subjects have been interpreted since the beginning of the year. Next year, the service will be extended to all second-year subjects. The lecturer’s preferred language determines the language into which interpreting takes place; some modules are interpreted into Afrikaans and others into English.

At the NWU, interpreting pairs, including key interpreters and interpreters in training, are used in the classrooms. There are a total of 25 interpreters and 20 assistants on the Potchefstroom Campus, where 300 periods per week are interpreted, while four interpreters and four assistants interpret 30 periods on the Vaal Triangle Campus.

The possibility of rendering interpreting services on the Mafikeng Campus is currently being investigated.

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Picture: Mr Johan Blaauw, Head of Language Services and Prof Marlene Verhoef, Director: Institutional Language Directorate of the North-West University, (NWU).