Discussion on that
We had a discussion on that yesterday at the unMonastery, with @mariabyck, @Marc, @elf Pavlik and Lauren. Later I asked the same question to @fortyfoxes.
People seemed to think that having “official translators” (a role performed by @Cristiano Siri in the early days of unMonastery Matera), while obviously facilitating things, takes away some of the incentives to go out and try to interact anyway with non-English speakers. In the long run, the way to go is probably to support language skills development of unMonasterians, rather than flanking non-native speakers with native speakers as interface.
Lauren reported that at least 10 people asked to be given English lessons in Matera. A possibility would be to host a weekly evening at the unMonastery in which doing conversation in English for, say, one hour, and in Italian (or whatever the native language) for the other hour. In this way, locals and unMonasterians would socialize on the exchange of language skills. Maybe an hour a day of more formal language tutorship in the unMonastery might be considered too.
Another suggested possibility is to have, say 3 out of 10 native speaker unMonasterians, who would be encouraged to speak in the local language to each other. This means that the local language gets spoken in the house on a regular basis, giving nonlocal unMonasterians more exposure to it.