Social Work Migration Project

Language Adaptation

Language is the heart of social interaction and is therefore essential for integration in the professional sphere. Language occupies a central place in social work intervention. To practice in Canada, internationally educated social workers must possess a certain level of proficiency in English and/or French.

Learning a new language is certainly a challenge, however our study revealed that language presented a challenge even for those who were already knowledgeable in English and/or French. The subtleties of language; local expressions, vocabulary, professional jargon, accent and pronunciation were major factors influencing a migrant social workers ability to understand, to be understood and to express themselves. Linguistic difficulties impacted professional adaptation.

Graphic 1 Language Adaptation

Various elements can facilitate language adaptation.

Graphic 2 Language Adaptation

The majority of participants reported positive effects of having a second or third language.

To learn more about the experience of language adaptation in Quebec, consult the presentation below, developed for the Knowledge Exchange Forum in Montréal on the 7th of November, 2014. The data collected for this presentation is exclusive to Québec.


KEF Language Adaptation from Kate Em


More articles to come…