Intercultural and ethics workshops for Indigenous languages

NAATI has begun conducting training workshops and testing for Intercultural and Ethical competency, under the new certification system for Indigenous interpreters. Five-day workshops were recently held in Kalgoorlie, WA in June and Alice Springs, NT in July. The workshops were run by Kathleen Oien, NAATI Indigenous Interpreters Project Officer, with local training and language mentors providing support for workshop attendees.

Eight participants attended the Kalgoorlie workshop, representing Western Desert languages including Ngaanyatjarra, Wangkatha and Tjupan. Several participants had to traveled for three days by bus to attend, from the remote communities of Laverton, Warburton, Wanarn and Tjirrkarli.

Six participants completed the workshop in Alice Springs and sat for both tests, representing a number of Central Australian languages including Eastern Arrernte, Warlpiri, Alyawarr, Anmatyerr, Pintupi-Luritja and Pitjantjatjara.

The workshops covered the following:

  1. Ethics of the profession. Candidates learned about the 9 Principles of the AUSIT Code of Ethics and its associated Code of Conduct. When looking at ethical scenarios, candidates were encouraged to ask themselves the following:
    • Which principle in the Code of Ethics is relevant?
    • How can I explain the principle in plain language?
    • What would I do in this situation?
  1. Intercultural awareness. Participants discussed cultural differences, for example, between European and Aboriginal ways of thinking about time, about country and about respect for others. Candidates were encouraged to explain their culture in a way that was relevant to them, and to remember that part of the job of an interpreter is to act as a ‘bridge’ between two languages, and often between two cultures.

Ethics training was conducted over two days, then candidates sat their Ethics tests on on the third days. Then Intercultural training was conducted over a full day, and candidates sat their Intercultural tests on the final day.

Feedback after the workshop was positive. Participants were keen to be working toward NAATI certification, and thought the steps they needed to take to get certified under the new system were clear and straightforward.

Indigenous Interpreters working through study materials at the training workshop

Kalgoorlie workshop participants working through study materials (Image: NAATI)

Published: 10/08/2018