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NT launches Aboriginal video interpreter

AAP logoAAP 28/11/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Australia's first on-demand Aboriginal video interpreter service has been launched in the Northern Territory.

NT Housing and Community Development Minister Gerry McCarthy says the free Aboriginal Interpreter Service will help those who do not speak English as a first language to access government health, housing and legal systems.

"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," he said in Darwin on Monday.

There are more than 35,000 Aboriginal people in the NT who speak an indigenous language at home, and the AIS will cater for about 35 languages via video and telephone.

Mr McCarthy said Territory Aboriginal patients in interstate hospitals will be able to understand medical information with assistance from the service.

NT Supreme Court Judge Jenny Blokland says the AIS provides an invaluable service to the community.

"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," she said.

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.

There are plans add further languages in the coming months.

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