The Minister for Housing and Community Development Gerry McCarthy today launched Australia’s first on-demand Aboriginal video interpreter service. Minister McCarthy said the Aboriginal Interpreter Service (AIS), is critical to the large number of Aboriginal people in the NT who do not speak English as a first language, to understand health, housing and legal services. “This new video and telephone service free to Aboriginal clients means interpreters and clients can access these services remotely as long as they have technology, while cutting costs, travel expenses and travel time for both parties,” Minister McCarthy said. “It will increase the AIS’s capacity to cater for around 35 languages.

“This means Territory Aboriginal patients in interstate hospitals will be able to understand medical information with assistance from the AIS.” AIS Director Colleen Rosas said there are over 35,000 Aboriginal people in the NT who speak an Indigenous language at home. “Our new video interpreter service will improve our efficiency to assist more people to access government services,” Ms Rosas said.

NT Supreme Court Judge Jenny Blokland said. “Sound interpreting services in our courts, provided by the AIS, contribute in a most fundamental way to the administration of justice, the maintenance of fair procedures in courts and rule of law generally”. The AIS has installed audio and visual software in its Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine offices, provided staff with 12 months of video interpreter training and built soundproof booths to ensure confidentiality. Plans are in place to expand to further languages in the coming months. An increasing demand led the AIS to expand its interpreter services.

“We thank the Commonwealth Department of Human Services for their support to establish this service,” Minister McCarthy said.

The AIS recently won ‘Video of the Year’ at the 18th National Remote Indigenous Media Festival.

Contacts

T: (08) 8999 8506

E: itsnt@nt.gov.au

W: http://www.itsnt.nt.gov.au/

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