Document Type



American Library Association Annual Conference

Publication Date



Chicago, IL


Each year thousands of international students enter U.S, colleges and universities for the first time. Typically, these students will tour the library as part of their orientation. Tours, however, are almost always in English, and many of these students have not yet developed the English comprehension skills necessary to fully benefit from the tour. To address this problem the Iowa State University Library developed a multilingual audiotape tour of the Library. The 45 minute tour was first developed and tested in English, then translated into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malay, and Spanish. A booklet, in English, accompanies the tour and provides maps and basic library information. While many of the problems of producing the English tape were anticipated, problems unique to the translated version were not. Keeping translations down to 45 minutes, knowing if the translations were correct, and recording and editing the tape when the sound technician doesn't understand the language were among the many problems encountered. Evaluations of the English tape were consistently positive. Feedback on the non-English tapes is not yet sufficient to draw conclusions.

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The authors




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