Lockdown tests Coffs language translation service for CALD communities

MICO language project volunteer Penny translates into Indonesian.


LOCKDOWN proved a timely test for Coffs’ new language service for CALD communities.

Rebecca Blayney, Community Development Project Officer, STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors), Coffs and Amanda Flack, Migrant Programs Officer at Australian Red Cross told News Of The Area the Multilingual Info Co-Op (MICO) service came into its own during lockdown.

Ohana Early Learning Centres Pty LimitedAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us – [email protected]

The key role of MICO is to get important local information to CALD communities in a time frame that supports understanding of current emerging issues, such as lockdown.

The MICO volunteers receive a script via email and create the video at home.

It is then posted across Facebook and WattsApp.

“We have had 20 volunteers who made a total of 42 videos over the past month,” said Bec.

“Since there is so much Coffs-specific information that needs to get out to those who speak languages other than English, it is a lot of work for our interpreters to do these videos.

“We’re hoping to have at least three interpreters for each language.”

MICO is looking for community volunteers who have strong English language skills and are fluent in another language relevant to the Coffs CALD community (see website for specific languages).

Indonesian volunteer interpreter Penny told News Of The Area, “(It’s) a very special opportunity for me to join MICO and meet people who represent different communities and speak different languages.

“Being a member of MICO means I am given the opportunity to share information to my community on various important matters.

‘The happiest moment is when your community understands the message and helps them do the right thing.”

John from Ethiopia, who speaks Anuak, said, “It has been a great experience working as a volunteer for MICO to help the community…having the spirit of inclusivity, keeping them informed in their own languages.”

Sylvie from Burundi speaks Swahili and Kirundi.

“I am very happy to have this opportunity and experience working as a MICO volunteer,” Sylvie said.

“It feels good to help the community by providing information in their language.”

San from Myanmar speaks Burmese, “I am feeling good, as part of an important position and connector between not understanding to understanding.

“Also, I can stop people worrying about fake news and make them comfortable.”




Sylvie from Burundi speaks Swahili and Kirundi for MICO language project.

Leave a Reply