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DHS launches new Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service

2022-06-07

A new interpreting service for South Australia is helping Aboriginal people make informed decisions on critical matters that will have a significant impact on their lives.

The Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service (ALIS), was formally launched on Tuesday 7 June 2022 during an event attended by several dignitaries and significant members of the Aboriginal community.

The exciting initiative is set to:

  • improve access to vital services — including health and justice — for thousands of Aboriginal people across the state
  • play a key role in supporting the delivery of Priority Reform areas and targets in the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap
  • better support Aboriginal language speakers to have equal access to information about government processes and services, especially when their lives, freedom or health is at stake.

ALIS developed in partnership

While ALIS is run by the Department of Human Services, the project was initially developed in partnership with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, as part of the South Australian Government’s Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan 2021–22.

10 Aboriginal language interpreters

The service currently employs 10 Aboriginal language interpreters who are also community elders and traditional knowledge holders. Among them, they offer interpreting in:

  • Pitjantjatjara
  • Yankunytjatjara
  • Eastern Arrernte
  • Western Arrernte
  • Pintubi/Luritja
  • Warlpiri
  • Alyawarre
  • Anmatyerre

and other languages.

These interpreters work face-to-face in Adelaide and Port Augusta, and work over the phone with people who are in the rest of the state. Plans to recruit more interpreters are underway.

ALIS first began operating in December 2021 and in its first five months most bookings have come through the South Australian Courts system and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

Using ALIS

As more Aboriginal people use ALIS to navigate government and non-government services in their language, ALIS expects to help reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison, youth detention or out-of-home care.

Any organisation that needs the services of an Aboriginal language interpreter can make a booking through the Interpreting and Translating Centre – Aboriginal Languages website, which also has recruitment information for anyone interested in becoming an Aboriginal language interpreter.

Page last updated : 07 Jun 2022

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