Meio University forms interpreter team to assist tourists from abroad
April 17, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 11, Meio University formed a team of volunteer interpreters to serve as guide interpreters at local events. The team is composed of foreign exchange students and students studying foreign languages. A ceremony was held to mark the team’s formation at the Hokubu Center for Life-long Learning in Nago City. Seventeen exchange students from China, wearing matching green hats and T-shirts, expressed their enthusiasm for participating in the initiative. According to a representative of Meio University, this is the first time a university in Okinawa has launched this sort of initiative, and one of the only examples nationwide.
Many marathons and other events are held in the northern area of Okinawa, and recently, there has been an increase of tourists from overseas attending such events. Members of the guide interpreter team will act as guides for tourists by providing interpretation as a form of engagement in local activities. Currently, Chinese is the only language offered, but going forward, the university hopes to form teams of English, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese interpreters, and will continually recruit new participants.
The volunteer teams will also work to contribute to the improvement of language skills of local residents by holding many language study courses at Meio University’s extension center.
At the ceremony, Meio University President Katsunori Yamazato expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, saying, “We want to respond to the needs of the community. I have high hopes for our students.” Jinjing Liu, a graduate student at Meio University and member of the interpreting team, expressed her resolution, saying, “I want to do my best to help the community.”
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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