News in Yankunytjatjara

Since April 2022, Rebecca Defina, Sasha Wilmoth and Wanyima Wighton have been assisting with ICTV’s News in Language program. The program began in April 2021 and produces, broadcasts, and distributes short news videos in Indigenous languages, mostly Western Arrernte, Warlpiri, Pitjantjatjara, and Yankunytjatjara, as well as in simple English.

The growing collection can be viewed on the ICTV website.

The ground-breaking program provides First Nations audiences with national, regional, and local news and current affairs delivered in language by a First Nations newsreader. This is a critical language resource that provides more equitable access to current affairs information across a broad range of topics. ICTV reports that remote communities are now more engaged with the news, including issues they were previously excluded from, and requesting that their own stories be covered.

The program also offers a pathway for training and employment of young language workers, typically supported by volunteer linguists. Rebecca, Sasha, and Wanyima have been working with a talented Yankunytjatjara high school student, Agnes May. We initially worked on extending literacy and translation skills and then supported her in translating news items on health issues, politics, environmental concerns, and sport. We were also able to connect her with experienced Pitjantjatjara translator mentors and offer advice on future work and training opportunities. Agnes has relied less and less on our support and recently translated and presented a full length (45 minute) news episode without us. She has continued to impress us as an up-and-coming language worker. It has been a joy to work with her and we look forward to following her career.

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