The NSW Government has funded a special scholarship program for new and established community members from Ukraine to become fully qualified interpreters.
Before Multicultural NSW facilitated the scholarship program, only three people nationwide could be called on to support those from Ukraine to overcome language barriers-now, there are 21.
Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said with more people escaping to NSW from the war in Ukraine, there was a need to increase the number of interpreters.
“Multicultural NSW coordinated an expression of interest, where 18 people were then given the opportunity to use their language skills to help those coming into the state, while also gaining employment in the process,” Mr Coure said.
“Thanks to these people sharing their language skills with us, we have strengthened both NSW’s and the entire nation’s interpreting capabilities to support those from Ukraine.”
The 18 people who successfully completed the scholarship program have now been employed on Multicultural NSW’s nation-leading expert panel of translators and interpreters.
Interpreter Yuliana Cherniavska and her four-year-old daughter fled Ukraine when Russians started bombing her native town from the territory of Belarus, at the beginning of the war. She arrived in Australia in April and is living with an aunt.
“This is a great opportunity for me to help my own nationals who are fleeing from the war and find themselves in Australia,” she said.
“As a displaced person myself it’s very important to make it easier for others.
“I like Sydney very much and am learning so many new things. I am grateful to Australians for their huge support in these difficult times for Ukrainians.”
Interpreter Natalka Suchowerska, who moved to Australia 40 years ago, said she had been drawn to renew her credentials in order to help fellow Ukrainians overcome their fears and traumas, enabling them to have a voice.
“There is a lot of diversity in the group, from our backgrounds, to the regions of Ukraine and it’s a great opportunity to provide such an important service to those who find themselves here through no fault of their own,” she said.
“I’m so impressed with the speed with which this whole program has been put together; knowing that the funding has been allocated to areas of need so quickly and allocated to migrant communities so quickly is a real credit.
“I believe Australia has prospered by giving migrants a fair go. Providing interpreter services to Ukrainian refugees is a direct investment into the fabric of our evolving society.”
Multicultural NSW’s language services team worked with industry body National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) to develop the bespoke accreditation program to fast-track the interpreters.
Part of the scholarship program includes mentoring and professional development with Multicultural NSW over the next 12 months.