Language aides train
A small group of Pilbara Nyangumarta language speakers hope to become qualified interpreters to assist in courts and hospitals.
While Nyangumarta is the most widely spoken Aboriginal language in Hedland, with linguists estimating there are 520 speakers, it has only a handful of trained interpreters.
To help boost those numbers, four local Aboriginal people sat training workshops and tests held last month at the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre, and run by the Federally funded National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
NAATI indigenous interpreting project officer Helen O'Malley said it was important Aboriginal people had access to services other Australians took for granted.
"It is about making sure indigenous people have access to interpreters in court and in hospitals because that is what every other language speaker in Australia has," she said.
"It is really important for good communication … but it also makes people proud of their languages too, when they are at a meeting and somebody gets up there and can talk in language to them."
The workshop comes as demand for interpreters has increased.
Wangka Maya recently held a meeting at which about 35 rep- resentatives of police, Centre- link and other agencies sought information on how to acc- ess indigenous interpreter services.
Ms O'Malley said those Nyangumarta speakers successful in the recent tests would receive para-professional qualifications.
This would enable them to provide verbal translation services and ensure they abide by the profession's code of ethics.
"They have to have really good memories and be very good at transferring meaning from one language into another," she said.
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