Master of Translating and Interpreting student Xiao Jing says working on the Weibo translation project for the NSW Police Force has given her invaluable experience. Photo: Sze Kai Chen
Master of Translating and Interpreting student Xiao Jing says working on the Weibo translation project for the NSW Police Force has given her invaluable experience. Photo: Sze Kai Chen

NSW Police, international students speak the same language through Weibo translation

When the NSW Police Force won in the technical category of the 2013 National Multicultural Marketing Awards for its Facebook and Weibo pages, its spokesman for international students paid tribute to Macquarie University’s Department of Linguistics.

“The staff and students at Macquarie University have fully embraced this and consistently given us quality translations for the Weibo community,” Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said.

The award recognised the NSW Police Force’s achievements in using its Facebook and Weibo pages to provide crime prevention and safety information to Chinese international students in Australia.

“The collaboration with Macquarie University is a great example how the NSW Police Force works with partner agencies to develop strategies to better care for the students,” Detective Superintendent Dengate said.

Master of Translating and Interpreting student Xiao Jing agrees, having participated in the project last session. “What makes me really happy is that I can share my translation with readers and convey important messages to them at the same time,” she says.

The Chinese student says she participated in the project because she was told by students who were involved in the first session that it was interesting work. “Besides, after completing the translation, they were given a certificate by the NSW Police Force for what they have done,” she says.

NSW Police mascot Constable Charlie at the launch of the force’s Facebook and Weibo pages for international students.

The Department of Linguistics forwards emails from the NSW Police Force to students involved in the project to be translated. The students email the translation back to the department to be checked by a supervisor. Once revised, the students receive for their reference the final version of the translation, which is also sent to the police force to be published on Weibo.

The NSW Police Force’s Weibo page was launched in January last year and now has more than 13,700 followers. The third batch of T&I students has already begun helping the police with their translations.

Xiao Jing says working on the project has given her invaluable experience. “It was good to combine what I have been taught in class with real life,” she says.

“What we have learnt in class is preparation for projects like this. As a T&I student, I am really happy that I can do translating jobs like this before I start working. I needed to conduct time management, do relevant research etc to make sure I could finish it on time and keep my translations consistent.”

The most challenging part of the project, Xiao Jing says, is to find the Chinese equivalent of English expressions. “Sometimes I need to paraphrase or replace the English copy in order for the text to make sense,” she says. “This is also one of the most challenging parts of our translating assignments.”

Xiao Jing says she will definitely recommend other students take part in the project. “It is not only a good way to test our translating abilities but also an unforgettable experience to help people in the Chinese community know what is happening in Sydney,” she says.

Detective Superintendent Dengate from the NSW Police Force shares Xiao Jing’s sentiments. “Here we have international students working with police to address the safety of international students – it doesn’t get any better than this,” he says.

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The Master of Translating and Interpreting provides proficient bilinguals with the linguistic, technical and professional skills to work as translators and/or interpreters, as well as an academic grounding in translation and interpreting theory and research skills.