The services of Cultural Linguistic Services are designed to enhance communication, cultural understanding, and learning in our diverse, multilingual work environment.
UW–Madison staff, faculty, managers and supervisors, deans and directors, international scholars, prospective UW–Madison employees, and others participate in programs and services of Cultural Linguistic Services. Services offered include the following:
- Translation and interpretation services
- Plain Language training and certificate
- Workplace English classes
- Professional development for workplace advancement
- English practice and cultural conversation
- Volunteer tutoring program
These services support UW–Madison’s commitment to sustaining a culture of equity, inclusion, and respect.
Translation and Interpretation Services
If you believe your work may benefit from interpretation and translation services, Cultural Linguistic Services would be happy to consult with you, assess your needs, and make recommendations.
On-site interpretation services are available for group meetings and one-on-one communications. Campus partners use interpretation services to enhance communications and understanding on these occasions and others:
- Meetings between supervisors and employees
- Meetings about employee benefits
- Training in safety procedures or other topics
Written communications are translated into multiple languages for use in a variety of contexts. Examples of materials that have been translated by Cultural Linguistic Services for campus partners include:
- Policy statements
- Marketing materials
Plain Language skills can help you get your message across quickly and clearly. These skills are useful to UW employees in a wide range of positions that involve communicating with others. Training is available at no cost, and all UW–Madison faculty and staff are welcome to attend.
Participants can take an introductory class on Plain Language as a stand-alone training, or attend three sequential workshops to gain a deeper understanding of core plain language strategies. Those who complete all three workshops can earn a Plain Language certificate.
- Introduction to Plain Language
- Write with Plain Language
- Design for Plain Language
Instructors will focus on word choice, grammar, organization of content, and format to improve the readability of documents.
To sign up for a session, visit the OHR Catalog and select Plain Language Certificate offered by Cultural Linguistic Services.
Workplace English Classes
Cultural Linguistic Services partners with specific departments on campus to offer on-site classes for employees who have limited English proficiency. These classes improve communication between employees and their managers or supervisors and increase employee engagement in the UW–Madison community.
Employees develop workplace competencies in areas such as workplace interactions, workplace safety, human resources topics, talking about work, and more. At the same time, they practice listening, speaking, pronunciation, writing, reading, and grammar.
Professional Development for Workplace Advancement
Employees receive the instruction they need to be successful and engaged at work. By achieving specific educational goals, members of our community can enhance their opportunities for workplace advancement. Classes are offered in a wide range of workplace topics, such as:
- Work-life skills, such as resumé writing, understanding earnings statements, using UW libraries, and understanding employee benefits options
- Working effectively with an interpreter
- Non-verbal communication in the workplace
- Basic computer skills
English Conversation Practice
The Employee Learning Center offers English practice and conversation on cultural topics to UW-Madison employees, including J-1 Visa scholars, who wish to improve their interactions with others at UW–Madison and in the wider community.
All sessions are free, and employees may drop in without making an appointment or registering in advance. The Employee Learning Center is located at 21 N. Park Street in room 1108 (first floor) and is open on Wednesdays from 4–5:30 pm. Sessions may include lessons in pronunciation, idioms, or listening to fast speech, as well as special activities, guest speakers, or information about UW–Madison.
Volunteer Tutoring Program
The Volunteer Tutoring Program matches employees with tutors who provide one-on-one instruction. The program offers flexibility, allowing learners and their tutors to agree on times and meeting locations that will work for them. Learners define the individual learning goals they would like to pursue (such as conversation English practice, basic English skills in reading and writing, or learning about U.S. culture), and tutors receive training in the skills they need. An online Tutor Training certificate is offered at no cost.
Both learners and prospective tutors are encouraged to contact the program coordinator, Jzong Thao, at Cultural Linguistic Services for more information.