ITSNT interpreters help Australian citizens return home

Our Interpreting and Translating Service NT (ITSNT) team say they’re honoured to have been a part of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response in the Northern Territory.

ITSNT interpreters Emily Chao and Lisa You were happy to see the drawings hung up on the wall from local school children given to the evacuees as presents.

ITSNT interpreter Luo Mitchell was the third interpreter on deck interpreting for AUSMAT alongside other interpreters.

Four ITSNT interpreters assisted the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) in the evacuation of Australian citizens from Wuhan, China.

Emily Chao, Luo Mitchell, Jane Wang and Lisa You interpreted messages from English to Mandarin from the moment evacuees landed in Darwin, and throughout the time the evacuees were housed at the Howard Springs Coronavirus facility.

“Our job wasn’t finished until every evacuee had safely completed their quarantine and were able to return home,” Emily said.

Quarantined herself, Luo got to work the day after she was given the appropriate health clearance.

“I knew AUSMAT needed Mandarin interpreters on deck so I got straight onto the job after I was cleared,” Luo said.

“Once I got there, I interpreted numerous messages from different professionals, doctors and nurses including Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy and Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt,” she said.

“I was really proud to tell them I was their interpreter from ITSNT.”

The ITSNT team also helped to interpret any queries the evacuees had, as well as any medical concerns, or questions about the facility.

“We were also on standby for the onsite clinical centre for the daily morning check-ups,” Emily said.

The gratitude for the AUSMAT team and interpreters was evident.

“Almost every day I interpreted ‘working hard’ from the evacuees.

This phrase is used as an expression that shows appreciation and means ‘thank you for your hard work’,” Emily said.

“The AUSMAT team quickly learned the expression and were able to respond in Mandarin saying ‘Xie Xie’ (thank you),” she said.

For our interpreters, this was one of their longest jobs, but they say it was one of their most rewarding.

“It was certainly very different from my other ones but I felt very honoured and grateful to be involved.

It was an unforgettable lifetime experience,” Emily said.

Find out more about ITSNT or for more information on Coronavirus visit Northern Territory Government’s Coronavirus website.

Last updated: 08 May 2020

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