Crisis clarity

With the world in the grips of the pandemic, Deaf Australians are now able to receive vital information in their native language thanks to Auslan interpreted news.

The ABC and Expression Australia have joined forces to produce a weekly national bulletin that is picture-in-picture Auslan interpreted.

Running at 6pm AEST every Sunday, this bulletin also features a two-minute transmission delivering information tailored to the interests of the Australian Deaf community.

Expression Australia says lockdown measures have limited the in-person socialising and networking opportunities for Deaf Australians, which affects their ability to access information in their language, Auslan.

Auslan and English do not have a direct one-to-one translation. Photo: Access Plus WA Deaf.

Access Plus WA Deaf acting CEO Annette Perrin says this news partnership provides Deaf Australians with a reputable source that delivers and unpacks the information they might otherwise miss.

“For their entire lives a lot of Deaf/HoH (Hard of Hearing) people have seen conversations going on around them, asked what was said and then been told, ‘Oh it doesn’t matter’,” she says.

“To have a news bulletin available in their language removes a huge barrier to access for Deaf/HoH people and means they are included in the same conversations and insight as everyone else.

“This is a great step forward and shows how much people have begun to recognise the importance of having interpreted information available for all members of the community.”

Social media users respond positively to the partnership between the ABC and Expression Australia.

Youth Disability Advocacy Network executive chair and managing director Jesse Williams says Auslan interpreted news is an important service during the current crisis but should also continue after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“For many Deaf people, English is not their first language and Auslan is its own unique language with its own structure and style,” he says.

“This crisis has shown that society can be accessible, making adjustments to the way we operate and think.

“Having Auslan interpreters is a great visual reminder of the diversity in Australia.”

Looking forward, Expression Australian says they will continue to advocate for the rights of deaf Australians to access news.

Categories: Community, COVID-19, General

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