NAIDOC Week 2017 Top End Patron named

Aboriginal Interpreter Service Director, Colleen Rosas has been announced as the patron for this year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations in the Top End.

The 2017 NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Our languages matter’ and focuses on the role and importance of language to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“As the Patron of Top End NAIDOC, amongst other things, I will be promoting the use of Aboriginal languages in everyday interactions” Colleen said.

As Director of the Aboriginal Interpreter Service, Colleen oversees the delivery of interpreting services by more than 300 Aboriginal interpreters across 33 languages. AIS Interpreters undertake assignments in a range of areas across government, private enterprise and non-government organisations. Interpreting assignments also across borders with interpreters regularly assisting on interstate matters.

When Colleen commenced working at the service in 2000 in its infancy, it had only two staff and six interpreters. The AIS now boasts around 370 staff, many of whom are permanent public servants. The Aboriginal Interpreter Service has 98% Aboriginal staffing which is unique.

“The Aboriginal Interpreter Service has been operating for 17 years and plays a critical role in assisting Aboriginal Territorians to access mainstream services.”

“We at the AIS are very pleased that NAIDOC has chosen to focus on our Aboriginal languages. So many of our languages haven’t been used, or have been lost, and until recently, our languages have only been preserved by family and clan connections. We are happy that our languages are finally being acknowledged as the first Australian languages.” AIS has been involved in a number of innovative projects, including interpreting police cautions into language for an app, and the launch of Australia’s first on-demand Aboriginal video interpreter service.

2017 Top End Patron Colleen Rosas