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Health staff attempt to lift language barrier

Faculty members struggle to comprehend Danes and Danish, and make themselves understood in English. A new network at the Faculty of Health Sciences will try to confront the issue of being lost in translation

‘Lost in translation’ seems to be the key phrase in a new network for international staff that is to develop smart solutions for teaching and education in two languages.

Associate professor Asli Silahtaroglu started the project, that will experiment with English and Danish in classrooms. Last Wednesday, was the inaugural symposium at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The project is funded by the ‘Good Education’ pool from the University of Copenhagen.

»I was happy to pursue my research career in Denmark. But when I became a lecturer two years ago, I realized that there were small things in the University which I did not know how functioned. For example the organizational structure, teaching-related duties like the grading scale, the role of examinator and censor. And who to call for different issues,« says associate professor Asli Silahtaroglu.

Need courses for each profession

Hans Henrik Saxild, vice dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences, highlighted the importance of the project and related it to the University of Copenhagen’s strategy 2016: The University is calling for ideas to get non-Danish speaking faculty members train doctors in English. And the doctors in turn still have to deal with Danish-speaking patients.

Non-Danish speakers have difficulty in the workplace in social contexts, explained Professor Anne Holmen of the Center for Internationalization and Parallel Language Use (CIP). She recommended tailor-made language courses based on professions, and the specific use of language within jobs.

»The project is scheduled to finish on the 31 December 2011, and then it is up to the members to decide whether they want to carry this network forward,« states Silahtaroglu.

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