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Fair Work Ombudsman launches instant translation service

Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has updated its service to provide what it says is instant translation of website content including fact sheets, information guides and templates.

The new functionality is the latest in a series of initiatives by the regulator aimed at making it easier for people of “culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds” to seek workplace assistance.

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said the agency was strongly committed to ensuring that all people working in Australia are equipped with the tools and information they need to stand up for their workplace rights.

“Language barriers can represent a significant obstacle to workers seeking to find out what their rights and entitlements are, knowing where and how to seek help with workplace issues, or having the confidence to speak up,” she said.

“We know that this can leave workers vulnerable to exploitation and we see far too many examples where people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, particularly visa holders, are treated unfairly and unlawfully in the workplace.

“We also want to ensure that new arrivals who are interested in starting businesses in Australia have easy access to the information they need to comply with workplace laws.”

James said that the real-time translated content would enable those with limited English skills to more easily find the information that they need, when they need it.

“We are here to help all employers and employees in Australia to understand their workplace rights and obligations – regardless of which language they speak,” she said.

The new website functionality follows the launch of six in-language videos in November last year by the Fair Work Ombudsman aimed at raising awareness of Australian workplace laws among visa-holders.

Earlier last year, James wrote an open letter to international students urging them to speak up if they have any concerns in relation to their employment.

Distribution of James’ letter followed the launch of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s popular Anonymous Report function in 16 languages other than English, which allows visa-holders to report workplace concerns anonymously to the agency in their own language.

Employers and employees seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94; an interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).