The Commonwealth Ombudsman has just released a report that emphasises an increase in the number and use of interpreters is needed to build stronger understandings between Indigenous people, government agencies and service providers. When I first read the ABC’s report about this, I was reminded of a blog post that Munanga Linguist wrote about when government people first showed up in Ngukurr to tell the community about the Northern Territory Emergency Response. On this occasion there was an interpreter present but the government people did not seem to be aware how critical it was to utilise it. On another occasion (see here) that Munanga Linguist himself became temporary interpreter for a government representative who was using unnecessarily complex English to explain changes being imposed on the community by the powers that be. Again I find myself wondering if one report is enough to stimulate increased funding for training in interpreting to a level that will make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people around the country?
The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Interpreting Services page on facebook has been posting links to interpreting services from all over the country, so that might be a good place to start if you want to find out about where and which services are available in different regions or to share details of a local interpreting service.