The EAL learner

learners of English as an Additional Language

Support agencies

Interpreting and Translating Services

If you need to translate short, informal communication (eg class notes, individual communication) with your EAL families, online applications, such as Microsoft Translator for Education  and Google Translate could be used.  Bear in mind that these applications have  Pros  – free and quick; and Cons  – the quality of the translation can be poor, eg nonsensical literal translations, grammatical errors and it may not allow for the language that you need.

For more important, confidential or formal communication, consider using a face-to-face or telephone interpreter through the Interpreting and Translating Centre at the school’s cost.  The use of an interpreter can enhance two-way communication between school and families; an interpreter could be accessed to assist with enrolment and parent teacher interviews, meetings or information sessions and oral communication of a student’s report.   The use of  family members (especially children) or friends as interpreters is discouraged as these people may be emotionally involved and may not have the necessary vocabulary to interpret the information.

  1. Contact the Interpreting and Translating Centre via their website or on 1800 280 203  to book an interpreter.   
  2. You will need to provide the specific language  (eg Dinka, Bari, Nuer etc; not Sudanese), name of family member, date and time of appointment.  It is preferable if the appointment is between 8 am to 6 pm.   Allow plenty of time as meetings can take twice as long with an interpreter. 
  3. Confirm the appointment time with the parent/caregiver to avoid missed appointments and cancellations.
Working with interpreters
  • Introduce the interpreter and explain his/her role.  Reassure the parent/caregiver of confidentiality. 
  • Face the parent/caregiver and speak directly to them as though the interpreter was not there.
  • Ensure the parent/caregiver has an opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification
  • Speak in short full sentences at a consistent measured pace.  Present only one or two sentences at a time and pause to allow time for translation.
  • Speak in the first person. Avoid language such as, “Ask her if she has …,” instead use “Do you have …”.
  • Watch the parent/caregiver and interpreter for cues that communication may be going astray. Beware of too many smiles and nods, as this may signal friendliness but not comprehension.

STTARS – Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service

STTARS is a non-government  organisation that assists people from a refugee and migrant background who have experienced torture or trauma prior to their arrival in Australia.  Visit their website

SA TESOL Association

SA TESOL is a non-profit organisation that supports and represents South Australian educators of EAL students.  It provides a variety of professional learning activities.

Australian Refugee Association

ARA provides settlement support for  refugee families and youth and has offices in Underdale and Salisbury.  Support includes Family and Relationship counselling, Family Well-being case management, homework clubs, holiday programs for students and more.

Multicultural Youth SA

MYSA is a youth settlement agency that provides services and programs including counselling, family conflict, leadership, case management, bullying in schools, Homework and breakfast clubs, Music and the arts, etc.


headspace Edinburgh North provides a free mental health and drug and alcohol service for young people 12-25.   They also offer a range of training opportunities, programs and workshops for all members of the community (service providers, parents/guardians and young people).

Successful Communities

Successful Communities is an initiative of Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA). It provides individual support to vulnerable and emerging culturally diverse communities and its members.


A Newly-Arrived Youth Service (NAYS)  is for young people (ages 12 – 21) who have been in Australia for more than six weeks and less than five years in addressing issues that contribute to conflict, family breakdown, homelessness and other challenges.

The Smith Family

The Smith Family has a Multicultural team and Youth Justice team.  They also organise and run (Homework) Learning clubs in schools.

Muslim Women’s Association of SA

The Muslim Women’s Association of SA provides a range of services and programmes for new arrivals and youth.


Please use the Comments space below to add details of useful services you have accessed
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  1. This is a very valuable resource – many thanks!

  2. Dr Amy Farndale

    January 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    It has been a delight to discover this online site. I have been directing educators here for information on EALD.
    Dr Amy Farndale
    PhD (UniSA)
    ‘Bilingual Preschoolers’ social interactions, emotional challenges, and functional language use while learning EAL’ expert.

  3. chrisp64

    April 26, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    TESOL in Context is an internationally refereed journal aimed at EAL professionals working across sectors in Australia and overseas.

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