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Since the Bushfires last year, Deaf Australia sent letters to Premiers and Prime Minister reminding them their obligations to provide interpreters on TV, obligation outlined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

This has been supported by a research conducted by Curtin University where they demonstrated that live captioning is riddled with errors. This presents Deaf Australia with tangible evidence for the need of Auslan interpreter in these announcements.

Since then, most briefings from Prime Minister’s Office and Premier’s Offices include interpreters in these announcements. They are to be congratulated for their commitment to ensure Auslan users are receiving information in natural language.

This is only one part of overall picture. The provisioning of interpreting falls under the government’s responsibility.

The second part is the delivery of interpreters on televisions which falls under broadcaster’s responsibility.

Deaf Australia need to work intermediately between two parties, the government and the broadcasters. 

Deaf Australia and many members of the deaf community have often expressed concerns about the delivery of interpreter when there are too many obstacles such as banners and captioning overlapping the interpreter during its broadcast.

Deaf Australia has raised this with FreeTV who provide policy support for Channel 7, 9 and 10 and they have responded that they do not see a problem with these issues.

Deaf community around Australia have been providing regular updates on Auslan Media Access Facebook page and Deaf Australia has been monitoring this page to provide us with evidences to discuss with relevant authorities to improve the delivery of interpreter on television.

Deaf Australia has developed guidelines for broadcasters to appropriately use interpreter on the screen. In this guideline, we requested that interpreter is shown as 1/3 of the screen and not 1/8 of the screen. This guideline has not been followed by the industry.

Deaf Australia as member of Disability Support Services Committee which comprised with several Government agencies and many peak disability organisations, I have specifically raised issue with the Government agencies and their communication team and wished to discuss this as an opportunity to improve the delivery of interpreting on television.

I have provided them with samples of images and outlined issue of each image as problems and also provided them with sample of non-interpreted sessions that broadcaster can easily do 1/3 screen.

Channel 10 has improved their delivery and we wish to congratulate Channel 10 for taking our advice.

The other channels haven’t taken the advice and yesterday, I sent another correspondence and provided them with additional images to Communication Team to remind them that this is an ongoing issue that needs to be resolved.

We are seeing some improvements, but there is more work to do.

I wish to say thank you to Deaf Community for their continuing support and providing evidences in Auslan Media Access as they are useful for our advocacy work.

Thank you for your continuing support.

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