Acting Director's message

Hi everyone and welcome to the Spring 2017 edition of Polyglot - our 72nd issue since first publication in 1997!

In this issue, we bring you some interesting features on story telling, translations, recap of campaigns and projects.

MHCS continues to fulfill its brief to engage CALD communities in health initiatives and work with health services to build their capacity to work with CALD communities. Despite challenges in staffing, MHCS has successfully mounted several major events including the launch of the 10,000 Italian Roses Project which involved the production of three videos for its social media page and Life Giving Stories 2017 (Organ and Tissue Donation) at the Bryan Brown Theatre in Bankstown.

The last quarter has also seen MHCS stage two major state-wide events: the 2017 NSW Multicultural Health Week with its theme “Women’s Health Journey to Good Health” and the bi-annual Multicultural Health Communication Awards, an event that recognises good practice in the development of multilingual health resources. Both events were held early this month at the Australian Maritime Museum.

Late last year, we embarked on developing our 5-year strategic plan, consulting with NSW Health pillars and stakeholders. The MHCS Strategic Directions 2017-2022 is a major endeavour for MHCS and hopefully, we will be able to share with you our new direction and plans early next year.

In the last quarter 17 new publications have been added to the MHCS web site and has hit more than 2M hits as of August 2017! More than 60 resources have been updated/uploaded on the MHCS website and we are working on more to restore majority of the publications for a standardized look.

As part of capacity building and supporting staff through conference and publications, our Translations Project Officer Caroline Chen and IT and Web Manager Rajan Manickarajah attended the 2017 International FIT Congress for Translators and Interpreters. An amazing experience for both, who networked and exchanged insights with translators from across the country and the globe. Read about Caroline's thoughts on the topics and issues gained through the convention.

We are also starting to look at publishing evidence of some of our campaigns starting with the Pink Sari Project - I will be co-authoring a publication with Professor Jim Macnamara of UTS for the International Journal of Communication Research and Practice.

We hope you continue to be updated with multicultural and community health campaigns through this newsletter. If you have any comments or would like to be featured, please feel free to contact us at

All the best,

Michael Camit
Acting Director 

Multicultural Health Communication Awards 2017

Bernadette King receiving the award from Minister Williams and A/D Michael Camit

The much anticipated presentation of the 9th Multicultural Health Communication Awards was held on the 4th September awarded by Minister of Multiculturalism Raymond Williams, co-celebrating with the launch of Multicultural Health Week at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Congratulations to the award winners for producing excellent resources that make it easier for multicultural communities across the state to access our health services,” Williams said.

This Awards program was established in 2003 by MHCS to recognise NSW Health organisations, NGOs and individuals that have produced outstanding resources targeting the health needs of CALD communities.

Overall, we received a significant number of entries in the Audio-Visual and Web categories this year,  we anticipate this to increase in the next awards with more and more organizations maximizing the use of the web and social media for distribution of their resources.

For a list of the  winners and nominations, their resources and language availability, please visit our website.  We look forward to seeing you again for the 10th Multicultural Health Communication Awards in 2019!

Multicultural Health Week Launch
Women's journey through good health

Multicultural Health Week (MHW) 2017 was officially launched on Monday 4th September 2017 at the Theatre of Australian National Maritime Museum with nearly 200 guests attending the launch celebration.

This year's MHW launch event, featured speakers from NSW Ministry of Health, Western Sydney University, community organisations and Heart Foundation. The annual event was emceed again this year, by SBS News Presenter and Journalist Janice Peterson.

Hon Raymond Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism and Disability Services launched Multicultural Health Week. He said: “the aim of Multicultural Health Week is to improve the health of women, especially women from multicultural backgrounds, by promoting the available multilingual resources about existing services to support their needs.”

As part of the event, a line up of amazing women spoke about challenges in health services and support for women in multicultural communities. Professors Dr Tinashe Dune and Dr Kate McBride from Western Sydney University presented their latest research in health issues on culturally and linguistically diverse groups. As well as, Ms Leanne O’Shannessy - Acting Deputy Secretary, People, Culture and Governance NSW Ministry of Health, Ms Lina Cabaero-Ponnambalam - Coordinator Asian Women at Work Inc and Ms Julie Anne Mitchell - Director, Cardiovascular Health Programs, NSW Heart Foundation.   The live feed broadcast is available from our FB page if you'd like to hear the full program.

Minister Williams said multilingual resources for CALD women are vital given that Australia is more diverse than ever. “According to the 2016 Census, in NSW we practice 146 religions, speak 215 languages and come from 307 ancestries. We ask everyone to support the goal of Multicultural Health Week to empower women from diverse backgrounds in NSW to make their health a priority,” Williams said.

MHCS produced posters promoting the important journey that women from multicultural communities can take to good health. A short video showcasing women from diverse backgrounds sharing the challenges they have faced and their motivation to be healthier, is also available to view from the MHCS website, link here.

Watch this feature from SBS News covering the launch of Multicultural Health Week

Feature : Storytelling to raise organ and tissue donation awareness

On the 6th of August, the third Life Giving Stories was staged at the Byron Brown Theatre in Bankstown.  Directed by master storyteller and photographer William Yang and writer/producer Annette Shun Wah, Life Giving Stories is an inspiring live storytelling event bringing together five storytellers from various backgrounds to share personal stories about their lives.

Now on it's third year, we revisit why storytelling can continuously engage audiences and communities from multicultural backgrounds, to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

What makes storytelling powerful?  Storytelling is one of the oldest art forms around. People forget facts and figures but stories go straight to the heart. When faced with a subject that has a “yuck factor”, we turn to storytelling and the format of sharing private photo collections. We looked at William Yang’s storytelling approach and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; simple storytelling with powerful images. What makes it powerful is that these are stories about life-altering experiences from real people. It is never easy to talk or have a discussion about organ and tissue donation. And so, we we looked at ways of telling these stories in a heartfelt and nuanced way. There is evidence that indicate that sharing stories is also therapeutic and cathartic for the people telling those stories. For the past two years we held these events at The Forum in Leichardt and last year, at the Riverside Parramatta Theatre.  We have featured storytellers from Maltese, Italian, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese and Lebanese background. This year, in collaboration with NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, South West Sydney Local Health District, andTheatre4A, NSW Multicultural Communication Service again produced another Life Giving Stories event showcasing the stories of organ and tissue donors and recipients to increase awareness and highlight the importance of organ and tissue donation in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

The development process is not written, rather a spoken one which relies on the images to carry a narrative of their own. Our process draws from William Yang’s masterful and long experience of telling stories with photographs in a theatrical setting, and this process has served him well, creating shows that have toured internationally. William Yang and Annette Shun Wah are seasoned professionals in working with non-professional performers and storytellers in Theatre 4a’s storytelling shows. They then meet our storytellers to write and rehearse their stories in an engaging and compelling way.

At every Life Giving Stories production, audiences listen to five heart-warming and insightful stories, as our storytellers reveal their lived experiences. The stories are enhanced by photographs from private collections. This always is a moving experience for the audience as well as empowering, because the storytellers are not actors, but real, everyday people who have been through a life-changing experience. In showcasing the stories, we not only show their organ and tissue donation experience, but delve into other aspects of their lives; migrational stories and their families, to get a fuller picture about them.

Here are some comments we received from last year:
I was very moved by all the stories today – thank you for sharing your journey with us, it was a privilege.” – Sheila Pham
It’s very inspiring and appeals to your sense of giving .” – Serna Ladia
The joy in the voice of those people who received successful organ matches and the joy that families of the donor gain by knowing that the journey of their departed loved ones still carries on.” - community member
Lived experience says it all. What courage!” - community member

(This is an edited article. The original version was posted in 2016 at the Riverside Parramatta website written by Kevin Bathman)

What's new with Translations?

The importance of independent checking

Anyone involved in the production of translated resources should be familiar with the notion of ‘independent checking’.

Independent checking is a great way to increase accuracy and completion of a translation. It is carried out by a second or even third translator, who provides feedback to the original translator whenever they find something to be questionable or incorrect. This process “catches” inadvertent mistakes and reduces the likelihood of errors in the final version; such quality control is particularly important for translated health information, safety advice, technical documents and any distributed materials that can attract negative feedback/outcomes.

Many different ways of conducting translation checks have been developed through the years. The above process is a simple description of collaborative checking between a translator and checker, which is also the recommended standard, and minimum requirement that MHCS employs for most of our translations. MHCS currently advises using NAATI Accredited Professional Translators, where possible, to undertake any translation or checking processes to ensure quality.

More information on Checking of translations can be found by visiting our guidelines at:

For quotes and inquiries, please email Translation Project Officer Caroline Chen at

Feature : Disruption and diversification in the translation and interpreting industry

Project Officer Caroline Chen shares her thoughts after attending the International Federation of Translators 2017 (FIT) Congress in Brisbane on the 3rd of August.

Many issues encountered in the world of Translation & Interpreting were brought forward at the congress, including those pertaining to culturally-appropriate interpreting, applying skills while maintaining ethics, sign language interface, translation risks and the implications of machine translation (MT). Most of the presenters who mentioned, if not focussed on MT, think that it is not a tool that is applicable to all contexts, and can be a hindrance to not only communication, but also the negotiation process (e.g. Studio 2017 tells the client how much LESS work the translator needs to do, if it picks up past translation data that is similar). Translation is still a skilled profession that has irreplaceable value, contrary to what most think; however translators need to start believing, practicing and asserting this more, or there will not be a translation industry anymore in the future, when quality multilingual communications will be more important than ever.

Professor Alan Melby says there is still an area where translators have a professional advantage and thus should expand into the realm of “language Service Advisement”. Only a translator can tell the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, and therefore be able to advise how people should properly employ the different modes of Machine Translation (MT); they can also take this opportunity to argue for human translations where appropriate. Many translators are advocates for technological tools that help them with some of their research/glossary compilation/development needs, but the only delegates who are 100 % for MT are the corporate bodies who create them. All human translation (HT) professionals still maintain the importance of human judgement/experience in translation.

It is still worthwhile to promote and support the training and employment of skilled translators, particularly those of emerging languages, to ensure fair and accurate access to important information and quality interactions throughout the coming years. Persons can still use the internet and MT as loose support to obtain a general understanding of languages and communication content, but should always keep in mind the contraindications.

WHERE TO FROM HERE? It would be worthwhile for agencies and providers to consider learning the different modes of MT, search engines, glossary softwares and other options to advise the client what best suits their needs. General elements of understanding for each should include:  1) What it does, 2) How it does it, 3) Advantages and disadvantages, 4) Languages supported, 5) Accuracy rates, 6) Does it also require Human input for a good outcome, 7) Who uses it – can multiple users can access it at the same time? How does their interaction with it differentiate? and 8) Bonus features

Ongoing campaigns

10,000 Italian Roses

The 10,000 Italian Roses project was officially launched, in partnership with Co.As.It., at an amazing event held at the Canada Bay Club, Five Dock on 30 June 2017.

The aim of the project is to increase the number of women aged 50 - 74 from Italian backgrounds living in NSW to undergo breast screening. The project is funded by a Cancer Institute NSW grant.

Approximately 90 attendees at the launch were privileged to hear moving personal stories: Mayor of Canada Bay, Helen McCaffrey shared her mothers journey with breast cancer and how this impacted on her younger self ; Ms Paula Maiorano spoke about her brave journey of survival. The audience also heard from experts in the field.

Video messages by Naomi Combes, Program Manager, BreastScreen NSW; Dr Sylvia Tenisi, Five Dock based General Practitioner and breast cancer survivor Paula Maiorano were also featured in the launch.

The project has also started branching out and commenced meetings with services in Liverpool / South West Sydney and Wollongong - watch this space for future events and activities in those areas!

Please spread the word, we would love to talk to more breast cancer survivors of Italian background and see how we might be able to work together to promote this important cause.

A survey to gather information and views about breast screening from Italian women in NSW is also available now. Please take a few minutes to fill this out as it will provide valuable input and direction for our project and future activities. You can also go in the drawer to win one of five $50.00 shopping vouchers when you complete the survey! Click here to access -

To view the videos click here:

And Like & share our facebook page!

For campaign inquiries email or phone 02 9564 0744. Or contact Nicole Stevens MHCS Project Officer, email or phone 8753 5000

Come along to help spread the word.


Community news

MHCS will be holding a stall and conducting a survey for Organ and Tissue Donation at the Cabramatta Moon Festival, Freedom Plaza along John Street, Cabramatta on Sunday, the 24th September 2017.

For multilingual copies of the publication on Donation Myths and Misconceptions, please visit the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service website

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

1. Talk soon. Talk often - Tip sheet
2. Last days of life toolkit - Communication
3. Neuropsychological Assessment Brochure
4. Safe at work brochures
5. You just don't smoke in hospitals - poster
6. Protecting your family - Bengali video on immunisation
7. Women and heart disease
8. Women's journey to good health video
9. Busting the myths - Arabic video on organ and tissue donation
10. Healthy women, active women videos
11. STARTTS Arabic video for clients
12. Basic life support - CPR Kids poster in Burmese
13. Fact sheet for care workers
14. Keep smiling while you're pregnant
15. Fact sheet for individuals, substitute decision makers

All these resources and more are available to download in language through the MHCS website.

Recipe corner

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

In this Polyglot edition, we share a Chinese fish and vegetable roll recipe from the 2009 Australian Better Health Initiative Recipe Competition. This was submitted by finalist Si Hung Lam.

For more recipes from the Health and Tasty Recipe Competition, click here

30 minutes Preparation + 20 minutes cooking


8 Chinese cabbage leaves
250g basa fillet
¼ cup sweet corn kernels
¼ cup green peas
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 spring onions, sliced
10 dried wolfberries* (Goji)
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp potato starch flour
1 egg white
3 tbsp water


Blanch cabbage leaves in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until soft, and put them into cool water.

Chop up basa fillet, and mix well with green peas, diced carrots, sweet corn kernels, spring onions, pepper, sesame oil and potato starch flour (1/2 tsp).

Drain cabbage leaves onto a clean tea towel and pat dry.

Divide the mixed ingredients between the cabbage leaves and fold into rolls, ensure the filling is enclosed.

Place seam side down and pack tightly in a dish.

Steam the rolls for 10 minutes, and top with dried wolfberries.

Mix potato starch flour (1/2 tsp) with boiled water (3 tbsp), add egg white, and cook for 1 minute, pour over the cooked rolls.

" Let us not act out of fear and misunderstanding, but out of the values of inclusion, diversity and regard for all that make our country great." - Loretta Lynch

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

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