A Bilingual Web Site for Chinese-Speaking Families and Professionals Over the past decade in Minnesota, the Chinese population grew from 8,980 to 16,060-a 79% increase. Many of these new Chinese immigrants completed college in their home country and entered the United States as international students. Some of them have become fluent in English and others have not-but all are ... Features
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Features  |   May 01, 2004
A Bilingual Web Site for Chinese-Speaking Families and Professionals
Author Notes
  • Tao-yuan Li, is a bilingual speech-language pathologist in the Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. She received a grant from ASHA’s Office of Multicultural Affairs to build a Chinese-English bilingual Web site for parents and professionals. Contact her by e-mail at Taoyuan.Li@spps.org.
    Tao-yuan Li, is a bilingual speech-language pathologist in the Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota. She received a grant from ASHA’s Office of Multicultural Affairs to build a Chinese-English bilingual Web site for parents and professionals. Contact her by e-mail at Taoyuan.Li@spps.org.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Features
Features   |   May 01, 2004
A Bilingual Web Site for Chinese-Speaking Families and Professionals
The ASHA Leader, May 2004, Vol. 9, 10-11. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR3.09102004.10
The ASHA Leader, May 2004, Vol. 9, 10-11. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR3.09102004.10
Over the past decade in Minnesota, the Chinese population grew from 8,980 to 16,060-a 79% increase. Many of these new Chinese immigrants completed college in their home country and entered the United States as international students. Some of them have become fluent in English and others have not-but all are highly literate in their home language. To meet the needs of this growing population, I developed a Web site that would provide Chinese families and professionals serving this population with both consumer and professional information about speech-language development and disorders.
Lost in Translation
To select content for the Web site, I drew on my clinical experience working with speech-language pathologists and Chinese-speaking children and families that they serve in the early childhood setting. The Web site was designed to be a resource for information that sometimes became lost in translation because it was misinterpreted by the interpreter or misunderstood by the parent. As one example, a parent asked the SLP through an interpreter why her 3-year-old son’s speech was hard to understand. The SLP explained that the problem was caused by the child’s delayed phonological skills; however, the parent heard the interpreter say that it was due to “immature phonation skills.” And from the confused look on the parent’s face, the SLP felt that the message was not getting across.
In talking to the SLP, we determined two possible reasons for this mix-up: the concept of the word “phonological” might have been misinterpreted as “phonation.” Or, the parent, who spoke Mandarin, may have had trouble understanding the accent of the interpreter, a native Cantonese speaker.
Cases like this propelled me to develop a Web site that would provide consumer information in English and Chinese, allowing parents as well as interpreters to receive information in their home language, while affording the opportunity to learn the English terminology to help them better communicate with their SLPs and audiologists. Although there are many different spoken Chinese languages/dialects, the written Chinese is the same for all Chinese languages.
Families also wanted information in Chinese about how speech and language characteristics and problems related to their child’s diagnosis are manifested in Chinese-speaking children. For example, two parents told me that they never heard the diagnosis of “autism” in China. Each consulted their English-Chinese dictionaries, brought with them from China more than 10 years ago, only to find the explanation-“syndrome of loneliness”-even more confusing. Apparently, autism was not well known in China back then, but nowadays, information about autism and other childhood communication disorders is being disseminated by Chinese education and medical communities. Using Chinese search engines, I provided links from the Web site to parent support groups as well as consumer information for the Chinese population. The Chinese articles have English annotations so SLPs know what information is available.
I found that parents made numerous calls to obtain services for their children, so information in both English and Chinese on the resources for early childhood speech-language services was developed to help families better understand early childhood services in Minnesota.
A parent and I have translated a parent guide to autism spectrum disorders based on the Minnesota Resource Guide for Autism Spectrum Disorders. In the process of translating materials for the Web site, I researched the appropriate Chinese terminologies to ensure consistency with Chinese educational and medical communities. Other translated pieces include “Evaluation and Treatment of Speech-Language Delays and Disorders,” and ASHA’s brochure “How Does Your Child Hear and Talk.” Each translated article is linked to its original English version, providing parents opportunities to learn the English terminology in the different topics covered.
A Chinese speech sound proficiency chart was compiled based on research on monolingual Mandarin-speaking children at the University of New Castle. Although phonological acquisition by monolingual Chinese speakers cannot be directly compared to that of bilingual speakers, these data provide information about the “typical” order of speech sound acquisition in Chinese-speaking children. Content targeted to professionals includes articles on bilingualism, working with culturally diverse parents, and information on Chinese languages.
Mastering the Web
Making bilingual English-Chinese information available online seemed like an impossible challenge until I went to a workshop on Web design and visited the Web site developed by the Taiwan Student Association at the University of Minnesota. The webmaster shared information about Web authoring software used to build the site, and once I became familiar with this software and a Chinese word processing program, the technical aspects were no longer formidable. Internet users can easily read Web pages in Chinese by selecting the proper encoding mode, which is usually Traditional Chinese (used in Taiwan) or Simplified Chinese (used in China). The Web site contains links to sites in several Asianlanguage-speaking countries. Each link tells readers which encoding mode to use.
Praise from Parents and Professionals
The site has drawn rave reviews from both parents and professionals. One parent said the Web site saved time in searching the Internet and consulting the dictionary. An SLP said the Web site provided her with hands-on training material for a workshop she is preparing for Chinese parents and staff working with children with speech-language disorders. In response to feedback, the Web site now features discussion of clinical cases, allowing dialogue among professionals.
The biggest challenge ahead is maintaining the site and continuing to develop high-quality content. We need more examples and data on language development in bilingual children so developmental norms can be established. I hope to connect with bilingual professionals interested in participating in the development of the Web site by sharing case studies or research, so that new information can be disseminated.
Visit the Web site for more information.
A Growing Chinese-Speaking Population

The Chinese represent the largest contributors to the nation’s Asian-born citizens, according to the 2000 United States Census. At almost 1.4 million, the population of Chinese immigrants is larger than the population of other Asian immigrants from India, Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The growing Chinese population can be seen in other North American cities such as Vancouver, where Chinese-speaking Canadians form the second largest client base for SLPs after English speakers, according to the Feb. 13, 2001 issue of UBC Public Affairs.

In Minnesota, the Chinese population was estimated at 16,060 by the 2000 U.S. Census, which represented an increase of 79% from 1990 to 2000. The University of Minnesota hosts the largest Chinese population of any university in the United States, numbering approximately 1,300 students and scholars in more than 20 colleges and on four campuses, according to the Office of International Programs at the University of Minnesota.

2 Comments
August 2, 2016
Tao-yuan Li
Update on the bilingual web site
The website is being moved to a different server and no longer available at the address cited here in this article. Please contact the author Tao-yuan Li for resources posted on the website (e.g., Mandarin speech sound proficiency chart, bilingual information on hearing loss and hearing tests, Mandarin articulation screener) at TaoyuanSLP@gmail.com
August 1, 2016
Tao-yuan Li
Update on Bilingual Web Resources
The bilingual web site cited in this article is being moved to a different server as Comcast no longer supported personal webpage. If you need any resources posted on this website (e.g., Mandarin speech sound proficiency chart, Mandarin articulation screener, bilingual guide to hearing assessments, etc), please contact Tao-yuan Li at TaoyuanSLP@gmail.com
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May 2004
Volume 9, Issue 10