Making lives better at 17 years old

At just 17 years old, Torrenzo Washington has already completed his Interpreter Induction training and is an interpreter for the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS).

Recently, he completed his tenth interpreting job in Yirrkala for an elderly lady and her speech therapist with two Flinders University medical students present.

Torrenzo was very nervous at first and asked to swap jobs with another interpreter but his fellow team member, Training Liaison Officer Sharon Yunupingu reassured him.

“I told him to think about how he’s helping the elderly lady communicate with her speech therapist and how it would give her a better quality of life,” Sharon said.

It wasn’t till they reached the client’s house and saw her in her wheelchair when Torrenzo’s nerves calmed down.

He kneeled next to her, and immediately started interpreting for her and her family.

Torrenzo completed the job in less time than predicted by speech therapist Caitlin Byrne.

“He just made it so much easier to communicate with the client as both her and her family don’t speak one word of English,” Caitlin said.

Torrenzo is very professional at what he does – the way he interprets information involves the use of his hands and movements which allows for the emotions to filter throughout the communication.

“Torrenzo was one of the best interpreters I’ve worked with,” Caitlin said.

“He was engaged with the client and her family, and interpreted very well even in a group discussion,” she said.

Torrenzo said he is proud to be a part of the AIS and is enjoying his role.

“I feel really good after I have helped someone with an interpreting job,” he said.

“The professionals I have also worked with, including this speech therapist, have been really good to work with too.”

For the AIS, it’s good to see more young people use their language and come on board with interpreting.

We hope Torrenzo is seen as a role model amongst his peers so it encourages more young people to assist in this very important line of work.

Torrenzo Washington
Torrenzo enjoys helping people with his interpreting.