Every person in Queensland has a right to feel to feel included and participate freely in society. Part of this means people who are not proficient or confident in English having access to qualified interpreters to communicate effectively and understand information and services provided to them, as well as their rights and responsibilities.
Engaging and working with interpreters effectively is a core aspect of delivering services for all people with difficulty communicating in English.
The Queensland Accessing Interpreters Working Group (QAIWG) is a coalition of non-governmental organisations that formed in 2008 to advocate for high quality interpreting, translating and culturally responsive services to ensure Queenslanders from non-English speaking backgrounds are not left behind.
A lack of access to culturally competent and qualified interpreters was identified as a serious statewide systemic issue, and there was a strong interest in taking collective action to bring about positive change. QAIWG formed as a result of this meeting.
See a list of QAIWG publications below:
This QCOSS guide, supported by QAIWG, provides an outline on how to engage and work with interpreters in cases of domestic and family violence, and sexual assault. The guide provides information on who an interpreter is and how they deliver services, how to engage and work with interpreters in cases involving domestic and family violence and sexual assault, cultural interventions by interpreters working in domestic violence and/or sexual assault settings, and what to do when a qualified interpreter is not available and the situation is an emergency. The guide also includes a checklist with considerations.
As part of its work in 2015, QAIWG undertook a survey of non-government community social service organisations in regional and rural parts of the state to gather information on the language needs of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, migrant and refugee women and women with a disability.
The survey results contribute to the evaluation of the impact of the Queensland Government’s Language Services Policy and Guidelines 2014 and the Australian Government’s Access and Equity Policy and associated Multicultural Languages Services Guidelines. The survey results also contribute to ongoing assessment of the accessibility of language services in regional and rural communities.
This QAIWG discussion paper from 2015 deals with linguistic diversity in courts and tribunals.
How do the courts respond when the main language and culture of defendants, victims and witnesses are not the dominant culture? This is a question of equal access to the law for Australians of non-English speaking backgrounds. The responsiveness of courts and tribunals to culturally and linguistically diverse communities is a measure of a society’s commitment to equality before the law.
In 2014, a submission was forwarded to the Premier’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence from QAIWG, convened by QCOSS. This submission highlights the need for access to interpreters to support Aboriginal, refugee and migrant women who are victims of violence. It emphasises the need for police and the courts as well as support services provided by government and non-government agencies to engage interpreters in community languages.
In 2012, QAIWG developed a blueprint for Queensland-based language service providers to provide interpreting services (ethnic community languages, Aboriginal Australian languages and Auslan), translating services, specialist training for interpreters working in contexts and access to services through other language service providers as necessary.
This Blueprint continues to be QAIWG’s standard bearer for what is needed to ensure access and quality interpreter services in Queensland.
This report is a follow on from the A Matter of Interpretation report, published in 2012. Still a Matter of Interpretation was published in 2012.
QAIWG identified flaws in the way Queensland services were operating in 2008, compiling research through case studies, and developed recommendations for the State Government to implement in this landmark report.
The working group identified flaws in the way Queensland services were operating at that time, compiling research through case studies, and developed recommendations for the State Government to implement in a landmark report, A Matter of Interpretation, published in December 2008.