A connected community without language barriers

NILR Highlights Importance of Translators & Interpreters

NAATI welcomes the release of the third National Indigenous Languages Report

The report emphasises the value of Indigenous language translators and interpreters in keeping languages strong and facilitating equitable service delivery. 

These reports continue to provide invaluable information about the state of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Australia, and the work that is underway to maintain or bring back languages that are under threat or sleeping. Researchers have also examined the breadth of evidence regarding the cultural, social, and economic benefits of speaking language – benefits that have long been understood by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

The importance of this work is underscored by the inclusion of a language target in the National Closing the Gap Agreement which was also announced last week. 

This report highlights that Indigenous language translators and interpreters are central to keeping languages strong and providing equitable services by facilitating better communication between language speakers and professionals, and supporting language speakers to continue speaking language.    

It also highlights some of the challenges that exist for the Indigenous language industry in Australia, such as the shortage of certified translators and interpreters in many areas and language groups, a lack of awareness about the need to engage highly skilled translators and interpreters and the difficulty many practising Indigenous language professionals face in accessing relevant training. 

NAATI’s CEO, Mark Painting, said he was heartened by the report’s findings: 

“This report confirms the importance of NAATI’s continued work with Australian governments and Indigenous organisations to develop the Indigenous translating and interpreting industry so it can meet the need that exists for highly skilled Indigenous language T&Is.” 

NAATI’s Indigenous Interpreting Project aims to increase the number of certified Indigenous language translators and interpreters, and the number of languages that have certified practitioners. NAATI-certified Indigenous language practitioners are highly skilled professionals that have demonstrated they have the skills needed to practice as an interpreter or translator in Australia. 

Developing and maintaining a pool of NAATI-certified Indigenous language practitioners improves the quality and accessibility of translating and interpreting services when they are required. This results in improved communication and engagement, better service delivery and ultimately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights being upheld.

Voula Messimeri AM

NAATI Board of Directors

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