Work Integrated Learning

Work integrated learning (WIL) is an essential part of the Master of Translation and Interpreting Studies at UNSW. In our program, we have two practicum courses to help students develop work-ready skills and mindsets.

From internal School projects, interdisciplinary collaborations, university departments, to external clients such as small businesses, event organisers and international organisations, our students have opportunities to provide their developing expertise to real clients with real needs in exchange for valuable hands-on experience. Throughout the process, they practice not only their translation and interpreting skills, but also the effective use of translation technologies, project management, language engineering, B2B and intercultural communication, as well as teamwork.

These practical experiences offer great insight into how different service workflows are applied in the industry, and which combinations of skills and knowledge are needed for a variety of dynamic situations. These experiences bridge the gap between academic studies and industrial practice, and prepare students for the graduate market by adding excellent applied experiences to their professional profiles.

Work Integrated Learning Highlights

New Work Integrated Learning Collaboration:

UNSW / 2M WIL Collaboration:

2m language servicesIn 2018, 2M Language Services initiated a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) collaboration with our Master of Interpreting and Translation program, offering our practicum students opportunities to gain insights of the latest industry practices. 2M Language Services is one of Australia’s leading language service providers. They have taken many initiatives to help advance the local language service industry, including helping to form and lead the Australasian Association of Language Companies (AALC).

UNSW Logo translation and learningThe WIL collaboration aims to provide our future graduates with more practical and up-to-date knowledge of the current industry trends and practices which could improve students’ employability. The collaboration also provides 2M a channel to employ top graduates from our program, forming a virtual cycle between the industry and our academic program. Apart from the frequent exchange of latest industry information between 2M and our program under the WIL collaboration, students with potentials are offered to sign individual WIL agreement with 2M for more personalised WIL experiences.

On 1st of May 2018, Thomas Lespes-Muñoz, the Digital Marketing Manager of 2M Language Services came to UNSW to present a talk about the 2018 language industry market trends. Many students and practitioners attended the presentation. The recording of presentation can now be viewed via the link below:

Past Work Integrated Learning Highlights:

practicum students helped translated 2015 UNSW China Student Guidestudent guide
Our translation practicum students helped translated 2015 and 2016 UNSW China Student Guide into Chinese
  • UNSW China Student Guide 2015 &2016 Translation
  • Subtitling for UNSW YouTube videos
  • Check out a series of videos subtitled in Chinese HERE.
  • Translating news for UNSW international office

Student Testimonial –Yifang Zhang

“The UNSW translation and interpreting practicum was one of the most valuable experiences of my postgraduate study. It offered me a great opportunity to translate news and promotional materials such as UNSW China Guide, pamphlet, and video subtitles for UNSW International Office, which not only enabled me to link my expertise to practice, but also helped me to improve my transferable skills such as communication skills through discussing translation requirements with project owners. It transformed me from a student into a productive translator and benefited my career in a long run.”

Provided translation services to UNSW Innovations Team:
  • In 2014, we translated over 20 UNSW Innovation EasyAccess IP Factsheets which were then used for marketing in China
  • In semester 1 2015, we translated around 10,000 words of content for the Innovations team.
  • We continue to provide services to the UNSW Innovations, particularly the Start-up China Program.

translation innovation team

Our students’ translation was used by the UNSW Innovation team in the China-Australia Innovation Cooperation Workshop in China in April 2015

Providing ongoing translation services to Akvopedia


Ongoing translation of an international not-for-profit water sanitation resource project website - Akvopedia. All content managed, translated and reviewed by students through industry leading translation tools and platforms. The Chinese stream has translated more than 100,000 words of content for Akvopedia. Samples of students’ translations:

- Business Development - Micro-financing (Chinese)

- Multiple Use Services (MUS) (Spanish)

- Surface water – General (French)

Interpreting Practicum

Moot court – Interdisciplinary Court Interpreting Practice with the Law Faculty

We team up with the Faculty of Law every year to conduct an interdisciplinary moot court practice, where Law students act as lawyers, and our students act as interpreters and the non-English speaking defendants and witnesses to perform multilingual mock trials. Real judges and barristers were invited to judge the mock trial and share their professional knowledge. This interdisciplinary collaboration started in 2012 with the most recent successful run in 2017.

All sessions of the interdisciplinary moot practice were filmed and well documented for internal teaching and learning uses. They provided valuable learning and teaching resources to both law and interpreting students. An HDR student also completed her PHD using these videos. Now, the videos are also used by NAATI to provide further training on whispering / simultaneous interpreting for professional interpreters.

Student Testimonial - Yael Balandrano:

“… The participation of both students and professionals from the legal field add a challenging level of complexity that can only be experienced by taking part in this workshop. The discussions following each case are quite rewarding since the points of view of all actors (lecturers, judge, officer, lawyers, interpreters) are exchanged and their experiences shared, which provides for a better understanding of how these procedures take place in preparation for a real life scenario.

Taking part in the moot court is a perfect way to complement the preparation in legal interpreting from the lecture and the tutorials to put the theory in practice. Further, the recordings are made available so it is also a great tool to assess the interpreter’s performance to further develop skills.”

Student Testimonial - Chirata Deneve Thomsen:

“Interpreting at the Moot Court was an outstanding learning experience in the legal interpreting course and MAITS Program. It allowed me to apply interpreting skills and knowledge acquired during the course, in a real-life scenario where participants where Law students and practitioners of the profession. The preparation was comprehensive and also included a briefing of the case provided by the Law students similar to an authentic legal case. Interpreting at the Moot Court provided me with an accurate insight into managing communication and shifting from dialogue interpreting to “chuchotage” and highlighted the significance of articulate public speaking skills in this setting. Interpreting at the Moot Court is a learning experience that enhances the interpreting skills acquired in the MAITS Program.”

Medical Interpreting Workshop – Interdisciplinary Medical Interpreting Practice with the Medicine Faculty

In 2014, we initiated a collaborative project with the the Faculty of Medicine, and started to offer medical interpreting workshops to medical students, raising their awareness of the appropriate ways to work with interpreters in sensitive cross-cultural communication situations. Our students participated in the workshops by doing role-plays with the medical students. The initiation was a success, and has now become an annual event with four workshops per year. In 2015, the interdisciplinary activity won the faculty teaching award.

Tour of Westmead Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children

Every semester, we organise interpreting practicum students to visit the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children at Westmead to attend a hospital tour hosted by the famous ‘clown doctors’. As the host passionately explained the history, architectures, designs, technologies and practice of the hospital, students interpreted the host’s speech into their target languages in the mode of consecutive interpreting. The two-hour tour not only provided students with valuable background knowledge of the hospital, but also offered them an opportunity to experience real-life onsite interpreting in a dynamic setting, and to practice their interpreting skills while interacting with the host, the audience and the environment.

Prince albert Visit

Festival des Métiers – Interpreting for the Hermès Artisans at the Museum of Contemporary Arts

In October 2014, Hermès hosted a 7-day exhibition known as Festival des Métiers at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney. Our French stream students helped with the event as French interpreters, interpreting alongside the artisans while they were explaining and demonstrating how various Hermès products were made from scratch. Students went through extensive preparation, learnt highly technical terms and did an excellent job at the exhibition, impressing the artisans with their skills and professionalism.

Festival des metiers

Student Testimonial - Nadia Barlow

“Festival des Métiers was a rare and unique opportunity for interpreting students to gain real-life interpreting experience, and was a valuable compliment to the interpreting program at UNSW. It was a great feeling to be able to put into practice the skills and training we learnt in the classroom. It was also a fascinating and exciting event to be part of, and it was a privilege to be able to facilitate the communication and interaction between the artisans and the public. All in all, it was a challenging experience and gave me valuable insight into the role of an interpreter.”

David Jones Fashion Show – Interpreting for the Chief Make-up Artist from Japan

In August 2015, two of our Japanese stream students had the pleasure to interpret for the chief make-up artist from Japan in the week of David Jones Fashion Show. Their performance and professionalism were well received by the client.

Student Testimonial – Yoko Takano

"I felt a great pleasure to be a part of this amazing and successful fashion show as an interpreter. it reminded me of how challenging and rewarding it is to be a role of a bridge between people through the means of language. I was struck by the sight of people laughing with each other and building relationships through my translation. This great opportunity not only motivated me to improve my language and interpreting skills but also gave me the chance to rethink about the role of an interpreter."

Healthcare seminar interpreting for community centres

  • On Jun 20, 2015, three of our Chinese stream students interpreted a healthcare talk on osteoporosis to the elderly Chinese audience at Ermington Community Centre. Their excellent performance was well received by the audience.
  • On Oct 7, 2015, two of our Indonesian stream students interpreted a healthcare talk on ‘A Good Night’s Sleep’ to the elderly Indonesian audience for the Indonesian Welfare Association at the West Ryde Community Hall. Great feedback was given to their excellent performance.

UNSW Community Development Project (CDP) – Interpreting for the community garden projects

Our students helped with the UNSW CDP community garden projects by providing interpreting services to the project coordinator and participants. With the help of our students, non-English speaking resident gardeners were able to attend workshops given by professionals form the Royal Botanic Garden, as well as participate in the discussions in the community meetings. In September 2015, some of our students interpreted the community meeting at the Marton Community Centre, helping to resolve some major issues concerning the community gardens.

Student Testimonial – Shuhui Lin

“I was very lucky to have the opportunity to interpret for the project coordinator and residents from the community. As I could see, the welcoming and supportive working environment at UNSW CDP is very encouraging to both the interns and the residents involved. Project coordinators and interns get to know what the community need. Community members in Marten Garden share gardening experience with each other while enjoying their time in the community garden. Community members in Poet Corner Garden were benefited with guidance provided by a professional gardener from Royal Botanic Garden. The project was also a good channel to set up some connections with the community and other social groups. For example, I met a social group while working at the Poet Corner Garden, with which we shared how to provide excellent community service and language support to those in need. It also gave me a better idea about what to expect at work so that I can better prepare for future work while I am studying at UNSW.”

INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON THE RICHARD SORGE SPY RING: UTS SYDNEY, 4 DECEMBER 2015 –Japanese interpreting for the symposium participants

Student Hidetaka interpreting for one of the speakers             Students Yoko and Joy interpreting for one of the speakers
Student Hidetaka interpreting for one of the speakers - Students Yoko and Joy interpreting for one of the speakers

Client’s Testimonial - Louis Magee, symposium organiser

“The three student interpreters on the day were Ms Joy Wu, Ms Yoko Takano and Mr Hidetaka Abe. Their coordinators Sean Cheng and Masako Ogawa were also present in the audience. The three students were aware that with fewer numbers than the original five, they would be faced with extra pressure. As a result, they sensibly decided to double up for the six presentations, with one taking the lead and another being the back-up. They were relieved of some of the pressure as the third Australian presenter, Paul Vukelic, who talked about his life in the course of presenting his biography, was supported by his ex-wife Pauline and daughter Diane, both of them fluent Japanese speakers. The students were, however, obliged to cope with three very elderly Japanese presenters whose natural speaking style was fast and unbroken and whom I had to brief in advance to keep their presentations slow, clear and with just two to three sentences at a time. One of the Australian speakers presented a similar challenge.

Despite the pressure and the various challenges during the day, the performance of the three student interpreters was outstanding. They kept their cool, worked cooperatively with each other and ensured that we kept to the schedule of the program. The success of the symposium rested heavily on their shoulders and they acquitted themselves admirably. Two weeks after the symposium, I received a very warm letter of appreciation from the chairman of the JRHRC, thanking all Australian participants for their contribution. Mr Cheng, Ms Ogawa and the three interpreters should regard themselves as included in that appreciation.”

Conference interpreting opportunities

During the operation and management of practicum, high-level simultaneous conference interpreting opportunities were also given to students with potentials. One good success story was one of our top graduates in the Japanese stream – Yoko Takano. She took on two challenging sales conference interpreting practicum jobs that were offered through the practicum program, overcame great difficulties and grew exponentially. And at the end of 2016, she got her first fully paid conference interpreting job for the Abbort Diabetes Cares 2017 Kick-off Meeting, kicking start her own conference interpreting career.

Student Yoko working with a professional conference interpreter in the booth

Student Yoko working with a professional conference interpreter in the booth

Fort Street Public School – Volunteering for assistance in teaching migrant students

In 2016, we carried out a collaboration with the Fort Street Public School. On campus tours were carried out for interpreting practicum students to learn more about the primary school systems in Australia, and students were then offered volunteering opportunity to assist migrant students who had difficulty understanding English for a day or two. This provided hands-on experience of working with non-English speaking Children as well as insight knowledge of primary school education and operation in Australia.