Acting Director's message

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2017 Winter edition of Polyglot!

A highlight of this quarter has been the 20th year celebration of the establishment of MHCS. As part of the celebrations, testimonials from a wide range of stakeholders were provided on the day. These can be viewed through the MHCS website - The testimonials along with photos and full video coverage of the event are also available on the MHCS Facebook page.

The 10,000 Italian Roses Project (breast screening for women from Italian backgrounds) will officially launch on the 30th June 2017 at the Canada Bay Function Centre. Read more about it in this issue.  

Consultations with the Pillars and various stakeholders towards the development of MHCS’s Strategic Plan is continuing. Furthermore, consultations for this year’s Multicultural Health Week have concluded with “Women’s Health” being the chosen theme by stakeholders.

The Multicultural Health Communication Awards has been promotedand nominations ended on the 16th June 2017, with more than 30 submissions of amazing multilingual resources.

4th September 2017 is an important date as it signals the start of Multicultural Health Week, NSW Multicultural Health Communication Awards as well as the launch of the MHCS Strategic Plan at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

This year will be the second year to run Life Giving Stories, a theatre event showcasing families from CALD backgrounds who have been affected by Organ and Tissue Donation. This year’s event will be held on the 6th August 2017 at the Bryan Brown Theatre in Bankstown.  More details in this Polyglot issue.

The media embargo on the Chinese Tobacco Control Grant was lifted on World No Tobacco Day, 31st May 2017 and Cancer Institute NSW officially identified MHCS and CASS as recipients of the grants. Work has commenced on this project.

Best wishes
A/D Michael Camit

MHCS celebrates 20 years!
Promoting better health through better communication since 1997.

16th May 2017 marked 20 years since the establishment of MHCS. A celebration recognising the individuals and stakeholders that contributed to its development was held at the NSW State Library, with invited guests, past and present staff, partners and community groups.  

Speaking at the event, Peter Todaro, Director, MHCS said: “We celebrate this milestone with everyone who has inspired, helped and guided us to where we are today. We are humbled by the wonderful support of our friends and colleagues who continue to believe in our vision to communicate health messages through unique and creative ways, to address culture and language for a more inclusive, healthier and happier multicultural society.” 

Since 1997, MHCS has been providing state-wide communication strategies to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities across NSW. The service was established by the NSW Ministry of Health and is currently administered by SESLHD.

Also in attendance was the service’s former Director, Ilona Lee AM, and Dr Greg Stewart, Director, Primary Integrated & Community Health, SESLHD.

The audience was entertained by Soul Drummer, the Sri Lankan Dance School, and a spirited performance by MHCS Marketing & Communications Manager, Michael Camit with his group from Sydney Harmony. Video messages were sent from many friends of the service, including Annette Shun Wah (Contemporary Asian Australian Performance), Mark Cummins (SBS), and Faten Dana OAM (Muslim Women’s Welfare Australia/Muslim Community Radio).

The Video testimonials from current and past stakeholders from diverse fields are available to view on the MHCS FB page and website.

Feature : Cultural Diversity in Australia from Census 2016

It's no surprise that Australia remains to be culturally diverse, with the latest Census figures confirming more than a quarter (26% = 6,163,667 people) of the country's population was born overseas, up from 25% in 2011.

According to the Census 2016 report, there were over 300 separately identified languages spoken at home in 2016.  English remains to be the main language spoken, but Census data shows more than one-fifth (21%) of Australians speak a language other than English at home. Mandarin remains the next most commonly spoken language (2.5% of the total population = 596,711 people), but there have been increases in the proportion of the population speaking Hindi (from 0.5% to 0.7% = 159,652 people) and Punjabi (from 0.3% to 0.6% = 132,496 people).

While England and New Zealand were still the next most common countries of birth after Australia, the proportion of those born overseas who were born in China and India has increased since 2011 (from 6.0% to 8.3%, and 5.6% to 7.4% respectively). The Philippines has swapped places with Italy in the top 10 list, moving from number 8 to number 6. Malaysia now appears in the top 10 countries of birth (replacing Scotland) and represents 0.6% of the Australian population.

As of 2015, Australia had the 9th largest number of overseas-born people, higher than both Spain (10th) and Italy (11th). While the United States of America had the highest total number of people born overseas (47 million or 14% of their population), Australia has a higher proportion of overseas-born people, at 26%. Australia also has a higher proportion of people born overseas than our neighbour New Zealand (23%) and Canada (22%), other countries founded on migration. 

Language                                           Persons                                           Proportion of total population
English only                                     17,020,417                                                          72.7%
Mandarin                                              596,711                                                            2.5%
Arabic                                                   321,728                                                            1.4%
Cantonese                                            280,943                                                            1.2%
Vietnamese                                           277,400                                                            1.2%
Italian                                                    271,597                                                            1.2%
Greek                                                    237,588                                                            1.0%
Hindi                                                      159,652                                                            0.7%
Spanish                                                 140,817                                                            0.6%
Punjabi                                                  132,496                                                            0.6%

(Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 2016)

What's new with Translations?

6 steps to creating quality translations

20 odd years of working with the needs of multicultural communities has pushed MHCS to develop tried-and-tested formulas for effective translations. While there is never too much you can do to improve the accuracy and flow of translated texts, we believe our standard process is key to producing successful, quality translations.

6 basic steps for translation creation:

1. Once a source document is received for quoting, MHCS staff do a quick scan of the contents to see if there are any outstanding issues (e.g. inappropriate wording or designs).

2. MHCS quotes the client our best price and notifies them if any preliminary issues were picked up in the source document.

3. Client is asked to review then approve the quote, confirm the final source document and send us their original design files. MHCS translator commences translation of the source text and advises if there are any elements that are incorrect or not translatable - this is conveyed to the client for comment and modification.

4. When the translator is finished, the translations are passed onto a second, independent translator for checking. If there are differing views about a translation, the translator and checker communicate with each other to reach an agreeable outcome. *NAATI Accredited Professional Translators are used in both instances, for all languages that have professionally-accredited workers available.

5. The checked translation undergoes typesetting and formatting into the design file, which sometimes needs to be modified to accommodate the new text.

6. The typeset file is sent back to the original translator for final proofreading, before it is provided to the client in web and print ready PDF format - ready for distribution!

For more information about MHCS translation service and guidelines for health staff, click For quotes and inquiries, please email Translation Project Officer Caroline Chen at

Feature : Editing and proofreading translations

Anyone old enough to remember typewriters may be forgiven for thinking that proofreading and editing is a thing of the past, not just for anything written in one’s own language, but for translations, too. It’s not true, of course. Proofreading and editing are skills that are just as important as they used to be. It’s just that there are more tools available to make those steps a little easier.

For those who do remember typewriters, they were often used to manually type out whole reams of text that had been handwritten. In many offices, stenographers would type from scripts they may have made using something called shorthand. Does shorthand still exist? Probably, somewhere! The fact was that the chance of introducing errors into the final typewritten product was multiple. Proofreading was essential as it was almost inevitable that errors were there. Of course, a typewritten document would have to be typed all over again if proofreading and editing discovered significant errors.

Translation tasks using old-fashioned technology simply increased the chain of possible error creation. Errors in the original text could easily be missed in translation, compounding the errors.

So much for the past. But in some ways, nothing has changed in terms of the importance of effective proofreading and editing, especially for translation. Professional translation agencies will always make allowance in terms of time and cost quoted for proofreading and editing, but at least there are far more tools to take some of the drudgery out of it. It must be said that modern proofreading and editing software and the sophistication of modern computers makes these important tasks faster and more efficient.

Proofreading and editing are not the same processes. Editing, at least as far as translation is concerned, is more about the style of the document. Is the original meaning and content accurately captured by the translation? Is the translated version adjusted to suit the particular target? Are units, if used, appropriate? Is there anything which has been translated unintentionally which could upset or confuse the reader in the translated language? Proofreading is more about the accuracy of the spelling, grammar and punctuation, typographical errors and the actual accuracy of the translation itself.

Modern word processing software allows easy proofreading and editing comments and annotation and the job of the person who has to amend mistakes and errors is made so much easier, too. The proof reader and editor, probably an integral part of the professional translation team, can use, but not totally rely on, a whole host of online tools which highlight inconsistencies and errors, but in the end will have to read through the whole text once, twice or more before passing the copy for final printing or sending to the client.

(This article was originally published from Aussie Translations Blog page, republished with permission).

Ongoing campaigns

10,000 Italian Roses

MHCS in partnership with Co.As.It. will host a morning tea launch for the 10,000 Italian Roses Project on Friday 30 June 2017 at the Canada Bay Club.

The project aims to increase the number of Italian women aged 50 - 74 who undergo breast screening. This will be achieved by various strategies including: provision of information sessions, group screening appointments, culturally appropriate community resources, social media and community engagement activities.

Come along, help spread the word.

For more information about this campaign, contact our Project Officer Nicole Stevens at or call 02 8753 5000.

You can also follow campaign updates and news through the project FB page

Life Giving Stories (Organ & Tissue Donation Project)

MHCS is pleased to announce that the NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service has funded us once again to deliver a new Life Giving Stories theatre event for this year.

The first information workshop was held on the 10 June 2017 where potential participants came to find out what it's all about and to share their incredible stories.

Come along to the Bryan Brown Theatre, Bankstown on the 6 August 2017, meet some old friends (the Zammits & Udani’s) and be moved by three more inspiring souls.

For more information or tickets, call (02) 8839 3399.  You can also book your FREE tickets at :

You can also follow campaign updates, news, and other organ and tissue donation related bits through the project FB page

Upcoming events: What's happening at MHCS?

9th Multicultural Health Awards

The NSW MHCS Awards program was established in 2003 by the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) for health staff and staff of health funded organisations, including NGOs that producing multilingual health resources.

Nominations have now concluded with a significant number of amazing entries!  Please watch out for further announcements and invite to the MH Awards in September 2017!   

To check out categories and past winners, please visit

Multicultural Health Week 2017

Multicultural Health Week (MHW) is held each September to raise awareness of specific health issues and needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) background.

This week-long event involves Local Health Districts holding their own independent events focussing on the specific theme, as well as promoting  a wide range of multicultural services to communities. Coordinated by the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service, the celebration for MHW is launched on the first Monday of September.

This year's theme will focus on Women's Health. Further details will be released in the next few weeks after consultation with the key stakeholders.  

MH Week will be launched on the 4th of September at the Australian National Maritime Museum!  Watch out for updates and details of the launch.

Visit Multicultural Health Week web page to find out all about Multicultural Health Week and our previous celebrations.

Community news

This DonateLife Week (Sunday 30 July - Sunday 6 August 2017), the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service (OTDS) is inviting all Australians to make their decision count by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register at We invite you to join us by promoting the importance of registering your donation decision. A range of resources are available to help you spread the word. Led by the Organ and Tissue Authority, DonateLife Week is a key part of the Australian Government’s national reform program to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes.

As part of Donate Life Week, MHCS is organizing another Life Giving Stories event - click on the link for updates about this event.

New publications:  What's the latest resource available in language?

Looking after your wellbeing after injury

Safe Use and Care of a Manual Wheelchair Including Elevating Leg Rest Option

Safe Use and Care of a Hoist

Safe Use and Care of a Shower Commode

It's Not A Disgrace It's Dementia

Patient information - MRSA in the community

Receiving Antibiotics in Hospital

Protecting your family, Bengali Immunisation

Recipe corner

Every issue, we will share a healthy recipe from different cuisines, sourced from the web and from past campaigns.

In this issue, we share a Tabouli recipe from The Healthy Arabic Women's Community Kitchen Recipe Book which was nominated in the 2015 MH Awards!

Preparation Time 30 minutes
Serves 10-15


12 bunches of parsley
2 bunches of mint
3 kilos of tomato
4 onions
1 cup of finely crushed wheat
4 tablespoons of olive oil
5 lemons (juiced)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Lettuce leaves, to garnish



1. Chop tomatoes, parsley, mint and onions finely and combine in large bowl
2. Soak crushed wheat in water until it expands, drain water in a colander
3. Sprinkle finely crushed wheat on the mixture and leave aside
4. Add olive oil, salt, black pepper and lemon juice to the mixture
5. Toss salad well by hand
6. Serve Tabouli in a deep dish
7. Garnish with lettuce leaves

"A language is not just words. It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It's all embodied in a language." - Noam Chomsky

NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service
LMB 5003 Buildling 41 Gladesville Hospital
Punt Road Gladesville NSW 2111

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