Accreditation for interpreters of Aboriginal languages


Hi everyone, there was a little segment about interpreters of Aboriginal languages in Western Australia on SBS’s Living Black last week. It was concerned with the lack of interpreters in general, and the fact that there is no state-wide training system. It is believed that many people do not seek health care, or are treated unjustly in the legal system because they don’t speak English as a first language and don’t have access to an interpreter. I found it incredible to hear that so few people are trained and accredited as interpreters, considering that language can be such a huge barrier in successfully navigating essential services. It’s particularly surprising considering the government itself seems to insist in most other cases that translators and interpreters are NAATI (National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters) accredited.

One thing I found really interesting about this clip was the comment from the Equal Opportunity Commission that a major issue is invasion of privacy when children have to interpret for their parents in the absence of professional interpreters. It just made me wonder whether they based this view on feedback from the Aboriginal people involved, or adapted it from general research related to interpretation practice. Privacy seems to be such a culture-specific concept.

There’s a little ad that plays first, then the segment will start playing. It’s only about 5 minutes long in total.

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