Aboriginal Interpreting WA

(previously Kimberley Interpreting Service)

Servicing Aboriginal language interpreting since 2000.

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Aboriginal Interpreting WA
- the only Indigenous language interpreting service in Western Australia.



Before the interview,
make sure you get the right interpreter for the job: use a qualified interpreter wherever possible.
Provide the following client information when booking the interpreter. 
You may use KIS’s booking form.

  • Name & skin name
  • Approximate age
  • Community of origin
  • Topic of the interview
  • Language

This information will help an interpreter decide whether he or she is able to undertake an assignment.

Prior to the interview,
take the time to brief the interpreter on the purpose of the interview.
Tell them if you will be using ‘jargon’ or technical terms, and explain in plain English what these terms mean.

At the start of the interview,
explain the role of the interpreter to your client.
Many Aboriginal people have never been provided with an interpreter and need to understand that the interpreter is there only to interpret what you are saying, not to take sides, give advice, make judgements or tell anyone outside the meeting what was said.

Your interpreter will simply interpret what you say to your client, and what your client says to you .

  1. Seating Arrangements
    The best arrangement is triangular. Interpreters are trained to seat people appropriately to enhance the interpreting interview. You should support the interpreter in their attempts to arrange participants' seating, if this is possible.

  2. Eye Contact
    It is important to maintain eye contact with the client NOT with the interpreter. However, keep in mind that eye contact can make Aboriginal people feel awkward and they may look the other way. Some Aboriginal people may consider direct eye contact a sign of hostility, or bad manners .

  3. Facial Expression
    Speak directly to the client/patient so he/she can see your facial expression, and you can see his/hers. It is important that your client can read your interest, good intent etc., even if language hinders your communicating directly together. Do not speak directly to the interpreter.

  4. Use of Short Statements
    Use short statements so the interpreter can remember and interpret accurately. Pause frequently to allow time for interpreting.

  5. Speak directly to your client/patient
    Always address the client/patient as ‘you’, and use the first person (’I’, ‘me’) to refer to yourself. The Interpreter will interpret for you and the client/patient in the first person. The interpreter's task is to interpret exactly what you or the client/patient says.

  6. Use of Professional Terminology
    Try to express yourself in plain English, in case the client/patient or Interpreter is not familiar with technical terms or jargon. If you need to use technical terms to convey information, make sure that both the interpreter and the client/patient understand. It is better to ‘unpack’ technical terms for the interpreter at the briefing session prior to the assignment .

  7. Personal Opinions
    NEVER ask the Interpreter for his/her personal opinion of the client/patient or their actions, and discourage him/her from offering them. The interpreter must be impartial.

  8. Cultural Differences
    Make allowances for cultural differences, such as:
    - direct eye contact can be intimidating; it may be considered rude or aggressive
    - an Aboriginal female client/patient will usually prefer a female interpreter
    - relationships between Aboriginal people may determine certain behaviours (e.g. some relations cannot look at or talk to each other). It is important that you tell the prospective interpreter or agency who they will be interpreting for so that inappropriate or difficult situations do not develop. This is also the purpose of asking for the client’s skin name.

  9. Use of Unqualified People, Relatives or Children
    Do not use unqualified people, relatives or children as Interpreters.