Aboriginal interpreters assisting emergency services

Clear communication is paramount when dealing with an emergency.

That’s why the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS), is assisting emergency services across the Northern Territory with messaging in remote communities.

In September, the Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) launched the italk Studios produced, Flood Safe short films.

The seven short films describe what to do when you encounter a flooded road. Five of the seven videos were interpreted by the AIS team.

These films will stream on social media, the NTPFES website and will be broadcast on remote television and radio stations. NTES volunteers and staff will also have the recordings on hand, to promote the safety message in schools and community events.

AIS interpreter Miriam Ngalmirimirin took part in interpreting one of the videos into Kunwinjku language, which covers the West Arnhem region of Gunbalanya (Oenpelli), Maningrida and the Minjilang community areas.

“English is their second language. It’s better to explain in language so people will listen,” she said.

AIS has also been engaged by NT Police to supply recorded messaging for their phone services in 59 of their community police stations, covering 20 languages.

When calling their local police station, a community member will hear a message that will provide options in language and English. Message options range from instructions regarding emergency and non-emergency situations.

A pilot recording of the Aboriginal language Yolngu Matha is currently being used in Galiwin’ku with positive feedback from the community.

Recordings of further languages is ongoing.

Aboriginal interpreters assisting emergency services. Picture of the team.
NTES Chief Officer Jason Collins, AIS interpreter Miriam Ngalmirimirin, and italk studios Michael Roseth all had a part to play in producing the Flood Safety videos.