Acolad's exciting relaunch of the Interpreting Task Force in the Netherlands is making headlines: recently featured on Multilingual, our Remote Interpreting Task Force hit all the right notes on business innovation, community impact, work integration of minority groups and talent development through re-skilling.
Initially developed by Livewords in 2015 as a pilot project to address interpreter shortages in the market and restricted access to the profession, Acolad’s Interpreting Task Force was recently relaunched to continue lending support to the Dutch Government in meeting its crucial interpretation needs. At a time when the refugee crisis is headed for a record influx in asylum requests in The Netherlands – with 70,000 new requests expected by the end of the year, the highest number in Europe - this 2023 spin-off aims to double the capacity of the task force by 2024, increasing both interpreter headcount and available landlines.
The innovative program begins by identifying native speakers of languages in high demand like Arabic and Tigrinya, who were interested – and willing – to take a new direction in their careers by entering the interpreting trade. Many of them former asylum seekers themselves, these interpreters were at the time working in completely different fields and had never been linked to the language services industry.
Participants then embark on an in-house induction course provided by Acolad, covering topics such as interpreting techniques, code of conduct, and medical terminology. At the end of this course, participants are placed on the Emergency List to gain experience, and simultaneously enrolled in interpreter training courses to become a B2 or C1 interpreter.
The August edition of Multilingual, one of the most respected publications in the Language Services industry, featured an interview with Nancy Hähnel, Acolad’s General Manager for The Netherlands. In this interview, she explains the ins and outs of the 2023 spin-off of the project, highlighting how Acolad is building upon the task force’s capabilities and strongly investing in uplifting the program to meet current needs.
The same article includes the inspiring story of Basel Someh, Syrian native and certified interpreter whose remarkable journey brings us closer to understanding interpreting as a true public service, with an immeasurable impact on the lives of asylum seekers.
Someh’s personal account of the program he joined in 2016 sheds light on the task force, its contribution to asylum proceedings in the country, and the transformative role and social influence of these interpreters.