NWU interpreting service expands to schools
POTCHEFSTROOM – This year, seven of the fourteen learners in die foundation phase remedial class at Central Primary School in Potchefstroom were introduced to the interpreting services of the North-West University (NWU), and can now follow their mathematics lessons in their mother tongue.
Ms Dipuo Maphakathi, an interpreter in the employ of the NWU’s Institutional Language Directorate, interprets learners’ lessons from English into Setswana. One of the objectives of the project is to determine to what extent interpreting into the children’s home language contributes to a better understanding of the lesson content and to improved participation and higher marks.
Besides the NWU, Central Primary is now the third educational institution that is profiting from the interpreting services of the NWU. Since the Language Directorate of the NWU initially implemented simultaneous interpretation of lectures on the NWU campuses to assure maximum access to scarce academic programmes, it was expanded to the Potchefstroom Agricultural College and Hoërskool Frikkie Meyer in Thabazimbi.
Although the service in Thabazimbi was at first instituted for computer science only, it is now being expanded to biology and business economics for the junior grades, and additional interpreters have already been trained and employed. “Due to the successes at Frikkie Meyer, we are currently looking into the possibility of expanding the service to more schools – maybe in all the provinces,” said Prof Marlene Verhoef, Institutional Director: NWU Language Directorate.
At the Agricultural College the full curriculum is already being interpreted, and on the University campuses the number of classes increases every year until the programmes within which the service is rendered have been expanded to third- or fourth-year level.
At present, there are approximately 60 interpreters and assistants in the employ of the Institutional Language Directorate on the different campuses of the NWU, and since the establishment of the interpreting services, the NWU has already received visitors from most of the other multilingual universities who wished to observe the interpreting service.
The Language Directorate is also planning, in conjunction with colleagues from other universities, to publish the extensive research that has already been conducted with regard to educational interpreting.
These two learners at Central Primary School use earphones to enjoy their lesson in Setswana, their home language. In the background is Miss Dipuo Maphakathi, an interpreter at the Language Directorate of the NWU, who is responsible for interpreting the lessons from English into Setswana.