AIS assisting operators with 000 calls

Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS) staff have described a sense of pride in being able to assist operators communicate more effectively with Aboriginal people calling 000.

Four people stand in an open-plan office lined up to pose for a photo. The first person on the left is a young man with blonde wearing a light blue shirt and beige pants. The second person on the left is a female police officer dressed in a dark blue uniform and wearing glasses. The two people standing next to them on the right are an Aboriginal woman and man. The woman is wearing a maroon polo top and the man is wearing a black polo top.

Aboriginal Justice Unit project officer Douglas Lovegrove, NT Police’s Jane Freer and Aboriginal Interpreter Service interpreters Nadyezhda Pozzana and Dean Briscoe have been heavily involved in the project.

Two Aboriginal people, a man and a woman, sit in a small room at a desk and smile to the camera. The man is wearing a black polo top and the woman is wearing a maroon polo top. They are both wearing headsets with ear phones and a speaking microphone. On the table sits another microphone with a stand. In the background is a red banner which says ‘Aboriginal Interpreter Service’.

Aboriginal Interpreter Service interpreters Dean Briscoe and Nadyezhda Pozzana have been involved in the Aboriginal Justice Unit Project.

The AIS is providing support to the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice’s Aboriginal Justice Unit and NT Police as part of a project trial, which involves interpreters attending the Joint Emergency Service Communication Centre in Darwin.

Central Australian interpreter Dean said the project was beneficial to both the operators and Aboriginal people calling 000 for various emergencies.

“We feel good about it. After the call is finished, there’s that sense of pride and joy to know that we have helped get that message across from the caller to the operator, and vice versa,” he said.

“Interacting with the operators, they give us good feedback as well and they sometimes say, ‘it’s great that you’re here’.

There’s definitely a need there.”

The project started in December and involves two interpreters attending the call centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings for a ten week period.

Dean covers Central Australian languages such as Anmatyerr while his colleague Nadyezhda specialises in Top End languages including Djambarrpuyngu.

Nadyezhda has also delivered three ‘Working With Interpreter’ training sessions to around 45 emergency call centre operators. She said the process of interpreting between caller and operator was slightly different to the normal practice.

“We don’t interpret back to the caller, we assist the operator with what the caller is trying say,” she said.

“The operators can see a change in the caller’s responses. They are engaging more because of the feedback from the interpreter.

It was a real eye-opener for them and it changed their view towards the calls.”

Following the end of the trial period, a report will be prepared by the Aboriginal Justice Unit with a view of expanding the project in the long term.

Last updated: 12 February 2020

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