In your daily life, do you ever see and hear someone fluidly jump from communicating in one language to another? Do you ever wonder how many of these amazing people in the world there could possibly be? Multilingualism is not as uncommon as it may seem. In the United States, approximately 18% of the population is bilingual (Psychology Today). That may not seem like a lot, but as of 2017, there are roughly 325 million people in the United States (Census.gov), 18% of that is around 58 million people. If that seems like a lot, compare that to the total number of bilingual people in the entire world – estimated to be roughly more than half the world’s population. (Psychology Today) That’s half of 7.6 billion (worldometers.info) people are bilingual. In recognition of this phenomenon Tone will be attending and presenting at the Symposium on Multilingualism in International Organizations and International Co-operation, May 10-11 at Church Center in the UN Plaza, NYC.
Unfamiliar with the word “symposium”? - let us translate that for you. A symposium is a conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject (Dictionary.com). Multilingualism is certainly worth talking about. Without people who speak more than one language, how else would we as a planet be surviving the most interconnected age in human history? Governments, businesses, creative teams, entertainers, and so many more now have to consider their reach and ability to communicate beyond their countries’ borders, usually by employing multilingual individuals.
Although, multilingualism is still finding its footing as a force in today’s global community, the Study Group on Language and the UN is conducting this symposium for the sake of sharing information and furthering the empowerment and enrichment of the international multilingual support system. As the Study Group on Language and the UN writes: “Within the United Nations, for example, owing in particular to the scarcity of available data, advocates of multilingual language policies often face ideological, financial and administrative resistance, despite a growing recognition that multilingualism, as a core value of the UN, is a potential source of strength.”
Tone will be addressing this concern as part of our presentation at the symposium. Tone will specifically discuss the role we play within a larger Refugee Resettlement agency and how the agency as a whole meets the challenge of providing services to multilingual users. Tone was created when the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) recognized the need for a written translation department to complement Compass Interpreters, another division of MVRCR. Tone and Compass both draw on the multilingual strength of the community with many former refugees comprising their staff. The agency recognizes that the language skills of the former refugees are not only an asset to the agency itself but assets to future clients, other business, and on a greater scale, the global community.
Tone has learned and experienced a great deal over the last few years. Team tone now includes translators working across 3 different continents translating more than 50 different language pairs. We are thankful and excited to be granted the opportunity to share what we have learned, and to teach and inspire other professionals to create opportunities within the international community.
For more information about the symposium or to register visit their website at: http://www.languageandtheun.org/symposium2018.html