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How do you talk to someone who doesn’t understand your language? What good are written translations to someone who cannot read?

Finding a solution to some of the communication issues many Indigenous people face has proven to be time consuming and expensive. Indigenous people spoke an estimated 250 languages in Australia at the time of European settlement. Almost a decade ago, the National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) found that 145 Indigenous languages were still spoken in Australia and 110 of these were severely or critically endangered.

To reach Indigenous audiences and to preserve language, OneTalk Technology has created ways to provide a controlled message that is delivered in a medium that is self supporting, engaging, flexible and accessible.

OneTalk is solely focused on preserving Australia’s Indigenous linguistic heritage and supporting those who continue to speak Indigenous languages. Communication and education are the foundation stones for improving Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.

OneTalk assists its clients by developing audio tools designed to close the gap.

The idea of communicating in language is not new, however as OneTalk Director, Anya Lorimer explains they are successfully taking traditional and cutting edge marketing tools to getting message across. “It is a complex process but we have found the solution to keeping the ‘old ways’ alive by using new technology such as Apps supplied on Wi-Fi restricted tablets, talking books and posters and animated video clips for web or MMS.

“Because Indigenous languages were traditionally only spoken, it makes sense that audio is the key to the communication gap,” she says.

OneTalk has several products that are patient protected and have been designed to be able to accommodate the production of a single poster or tablet or hundreds of them. They are manufactured in the Northern Territory and every album or poster produced for a client is individually tested. The audio devices have been designed so that the messages cannot be wiped or recorded over. The 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census, revealed that 55,695 people, or one in eight, claimed that an Indigenous language was their primary household language. The most spoken Indigenous languages currently are Arrernte, Djambarrpuyngu/Dhuwal, Pitjantjatjara, Warlpiri, Creole and Kriol.

All of these languages are spoken in the Northern Territory and are languages that OneTalk regularly seeks translations for.

Ms Lorimer says the integrated tools are a “first of their kind” in Australia and only through direct consultation with elders of Indigenous communities was OneTalk able to develop a better understanding of language, cultural sensitivities and communication issues in regional and remote areas across the Northern Australia.


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