Thursday, November 01, 2007

Positive Response from Gen. Chalmers

"Thank you for your prompt follow up to our discussion. I appreciate the
importance of effective communications and the need to use interpreters
if we are to have any chance of meaningful dialogue with people.

As a result of your email, I have provided the contact details of the
Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre to my staff and directed
that the use of interpreters be a standard planning consideration for
any visit or engagement activity."

Dave Chalmers
Major General
Operational Commander
NT Emergency Response Taskforce


Blogger Catalin said...

Oh Sophie, well done! I hope his staffers are as on top of it as he was in responding to you.

This seems like a huge triumph, to have gotten some army/govt guy to implement a new practice. Usually stuff like that has to work its way up some labyrinthine chain of command and by the time it comes back down to the ground, the policy is something totally different from what was intended. Yet, you managed to talk to someone high enough up that he could just decide that yes interpreters should be used from now on.

Again, goodonya! (am I allowed to say that?)

3:18 pm  
Anonymous David Nash said...

Goodonya, yes!
Wamut's first-hand accounts of the meetings at Ngukurr called by the survey time on Wed 1 Aug and a DEWR team on Wed 29 Aug show that both teams would have learnt that Kriol was the main language of the community, and that interpretation is needed. However from your account this did not inform preparations for the meeting of Tues 23 Oct, and one is left to wonder about the briefing the Commander received before that meeting.
The Commander's direction that "the use of interpreters be a standard planning consideration" is about as good as we can expect, but it doesn't imply a commitment that "interpreters should be used from now on" (sorry to say, Catalin!). Also, some of the material to be interpreted is quite demanding, and really needs some longish explanations leading to language engineering, and I hope that Diwurruwurru - Jaru (the Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre) is given sufficient notice and resources to tackle this.

6:29 pm  
Anonymous jangari said...

Strangely enough, a few days before the survey team arrived in Kybrook Farm, back in August, I received a phone call on my mobile from Hooch, asking if I knew anyone at Kybrook who could assist in interpreting, or at the very least advise which languages would need to be accounted for. As it happened, someone in the community had just recently been accredited as an interpreter in three gradations of Roper River Kriol.

What's odd is that the survey team (I assume it was their initiative to ask for an interpreter), thought one was required at Kybrook but not Ngukurr? The effective epicentre of Kriol?

That said, good work Sophie. Good to see at least some token response from people in high places.

7:03 pm  
Blogger bulanjdjan said...

Well, well done!

Time will tell what impact this has, and David is right about language engineering and DAC requiring resources and advanced notifications.

2:57 pm  

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