Published on 13/12/2022
Share this Article:
English to Ukraine
  • The Aston Centre for Applied Linguistics will develop activities to help Ukrainian speakers overcome language barriers
  • The funding comes from Birmingham Voluntary Service Council's (BVCS) Engage for Ukraine scheme
  • The scheme will run until September 2023.

Aston Centre for Applied Linguistics (ACAL) has secured funding for activities aimed at helping Ukrainian refugees overcome language barriers.

The £14,000 grant has come from Birmingham Voluntary Service Council's (BVCS) Engage for Ukraine scheme and will run until September 2023.

As part of the activities, a support network to bring together local interpreters will be established.

On 14 December, organisers will present the project and discuss how the network could effectively support interpreters through training, continuous professional development (CPD) or exchanges.

It builds on the success of a similar initiative earlier this year when Aston University launched a five-week emergency introduction to interpreting course to enable bilingual speakers of English and Ukrainian to act as interpreters for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK.

Additional training for public servants on how to work with an interpreter and business language support for Ukrainian entrepreneurs will be launched in the new year in collaboration with the Aston Centre for Growth.

Dr Emmanuelle Labeau, director of Aston Centre for Applied Linguistics (ACAL) at Aston University and project’s instigator, said:

“In periods of crises, the focus tends to be on the material needs, such as food and shelter, of refugees.

“Meanwhile, the linguistic dimension of their ordeal is often overlooked. The lack of a common language often hinders well-meaning efforts.

“Our scheme attempts to help overcome communication hurdles by enabling bilingual speakers to support their community in a professional way, and public servants to collaborate efficiently with interpreters, while supporting refugees to fully partake in the life of our city.

“Through this scheme, we hope to develop a blueprint for overcoming language barriers whenever emergencies bring speakers of other languages to the UK.”

Dr Labeau will be working on this project with experienced public service interpreter (PSI) trainer and Aston University graduate Dr Yvonne Fowler and leading PSI Rekha Narula.

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University is ranked 22nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7446 910063 or email:

Be first to get the latest news, research and expert comment from Aston
following us on Twitter

Need an expert for your story? Browse our expert directory


Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


Helen Tunnicliffe,
Press and Communications Manager


Alternatively, email