Sunday, May 2, 2010

Transport And Shipping Workers Group On Line In 3 More languages

Crew Assistance Website now in Chinese, Russian and Spanish
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF),which represents over four and a half million workers in the transport, shipping and logistics sectors, tell us they have now translated their seafarers website into Chinese (Simplified Mandarin), Russian and Spanish. The site was launched two years ago, to ensure access to the organisations support and advice services was readily available to anyone at sea who had access to the internet.

In the new language versions http://www.itfseafarers.org/ offers information on health, pay and safety and includes advice, help, and maritime news and crew talk forums. The venture has taken several years of preparation and was commissioned in direct response to research undertaken and commissioned by the ITF and seafarers’ welfare organisations that identified the need for new levels of electronic support for those working at sea.

The need for Chinese, Spanish and Russian versions was identified during the initial research process, which prioritised them over, say, Tagalog, due to the high levels of maritime English spoken by Filipino seafarers. Spanish was selected due to its widespread use in Europe and in particular among Latin America seafarers; Russian in response to it being the first language of around 10 per cent of the international labour force in shipping, as well as the second language of many older Eastern European workers; and Chinese to assist the estimated 330,000 to 380,000 Chinese seafarers serving on coastal and deep-sea vessels.

Four different types of users were identified in its development, and it has been designed to offer each of them the same level of speed and service, whether they’re users needing urgent help; first time browsers; users looking for specific information; or those on a slow connection who can opt for a text only version. As with the Handy Shipping Guide the website offers three different routes to information: by menu, by topic tabs and by quick links.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton commented:

“We’re proud of how widely used ITF Seafarers has become since its launch. It set out to answer a need voiced by seafarers and welfare bodies for cutting edge, free, easy to use communication from ship or shore. The unveiling of the new, additional language sites makes it a virtually universal service for the world’s seafarers, whether they’re at leisure, at work, or in trouble and needing help.”