Voting in Australia is compulsory, yet many residents do not have English as their first language. To access the democratic process, voters need information about the political and voting process. But how to achieve this? Using a an innovative blend of technology and live professional interpreters, VITS, the Victorian Interpreting and Translation Service, successfully met this need during Australia’s recent national election campaign. The combination of multi-lingual telephone information lines, top-quality interactive voice response technology, custom-built software, and an on-demand link to live interpreters allowed for broad access at lowered cost for 146 languages. This presentation illustrates a compelling model for how technology, combined with access to qualified language professionals, can provide broad access to critical information on a national level, all at a reduced cost to traditional call center models.
George has three decades of executive management experience in Australia and abroad within government, private and non-government sectors. Throughout his career he has maintained a commitment to protecting the rights of culturally and linguistically diverse citizens. Currently CEO of VITS, the Victorian Interpreting & Translating Service, he has overseen significant growth and expansion for the company. Other career positions included Community Relations Manager for the Victorian Human Rights Commission and a senior human rights advisory position for the Hong Kong Government.