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Google Translate launches pilot project in Victoria

Google Translate has partnered with the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria to launch the ‘We Speak Translate’ Project. Ceilidh Millar reports.

Ibrahim Haj-Ibrahim is improving his English with a little help from technology.

“It gives you an answer so fast” said Haj-Ibrahim.

Since moving to Victoria in February 2016, the Syrian refugee and father of four has been using the Google Translate App to overcome language barriers.

The digital interpreter technology could soon be used across the Island to help other newcomers integrate into society.

Google Translate has partnered with the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria to launch the “We Speak Translate” Project.

It’s the first program of its kind in the world.

“I had this idea to partner with Google and use the Google Translate App as a community-wide symbol of inclusion” said Kate Longpre, ICA’s community integration co-ordinator. “We want [newcomers] to access services, feel welcome and be able to integrate into society. The language piece and ability to communicate is key.”

The ICA hopes to train as many people as possible to use the app including businesses, public services and schools.

Staff from Google will hold a training session on April 12 to promote the project in the community.

“Google Translate is already intuitive and easy to use,” said Roque Silva from Google Translate, who will be leading the training next week. “There are some awesome features like instant camera translations, so you can automatically translate signs.”

Participants who complete the training will receive a ‘We Speak Translate’ decal, which Longpre hopes will represent a symbol of inclusiveness.

“Wherever newcomers are going and they see these symbols, they’ll realize that this is a welcoming place” said Longpre.

According to the Victoria Foundation, more than 1,400 immigrants and refugees settle in Greater Victoria each year.

For more information on the project, visit ICA Victoria.



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