AIS Interpreter continues to make contributions despite disability

Wadeye resident Christine Cumaiyi has been proudly serving her community for 23 years, and is an outstanding example of letting nothing hold you back.

Christine was born prematurely, has been living in a wheelchair since birth and has built a rewarding life as one of the Northern Territory’s longest serving interpreters.

In 1989, she began working casually as an interpreter before the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) was formally established in 2000.

“I started when I was 29, now I’m 52 and still doing it,” Christine said.

In the same year the AIS was founded. Christine became a qualified interpreter.

“I remember thinking ‘wow I’m really doing this’,” she said.

“Being disabled isn’t a problem. I was really happy and proud of myself,” Christine said.

Christine continues to make contributions to the Wadeye community, and has helped to mediate antisocial incidents by interpreting for NT Police.

“I help them when they need an interpreter for the local people who have troubles or problems,” Christine said.

“We all know each other in community which makes it easier because I have relationships with these local people,” she said.

Through and through, Christine is extremely passionate about this important line of work and is a strong advocate in reaching your goals while living with a disability.

“I love what I’m doing and what I’m doing for my country, my people in community and meeting new people.

People with disabilities - you can do whatever you want. There are still options and you can still do an excellent job. Don’t let it stop you,” Christine said.

AIS Interpreter Christine Cumaiyi
Christine is a long serving interpreter with the Aboriginal Interpreter Service.

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