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Uluru Statement goes universal

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The Uluru Statement from the Heart has been translated into more than 60 languages in a collaboration between the University of New South Wales' Indigenous Law Centre and SBS Radio.

In the 2016 Australian Census, 4.9 million people reported speaking a language other than English at home. Of those people, 820,000 reported they spoke English "not well" or "not at all".

Despite this, many public statements issued to the people of Australia are often only issued in English accompanied by an Auslan interpreter for the Deaf community.

Working together to continue the fight for an Indigenous Voice, the leaders and delegates who attended the Uluru dialogues and national convention in 2017 had to find a way to spread their message further three years on.

To ensure the call for an Indigenous Voice reaches as many Australians as possible, the leaders and delegates who attended the Uluru dialogues and national convention in 2017 teamed up with SBS Radio to create a culturally significant public resource.

With translations from Albanian to Vietnamese, translating the Uluru Statement wasn't just a case of pasting the Statement's words into Google Translate and then reading out the translations for individual sound files.

In any language, there are many words that simply don't translate. Each translation had to account for the nuances and structure of the language it was accommodating.

Racing against the clock to have the 60-plus languages accurately transcribed verbally and literally in time for recent NAIDOC Week celebrations, it was a painstaking but truly fulfilling task for SBS Radio journalists.

"In terms of a Serbian audience, they might not be familiar with the terminology of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, but they'll definitely be familiar with the struggle and the battle and the cause of Indigenous people of Australia," said SBS Serbian journalist, Sofija Petrovic.

She said the translation project is a way of fostering understanding and connections between the Serbian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

With the Statement's final sentence a powerful call to arms for all Australians, the words look good in any language.

"We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future."

"Ju ftojmë që të ecni me ne në drejtim të një të ardhmeje më të mirë për popullin Australian." (Albanian)

"Nous vous invitons à marcher avec nous dans un mouvement du peuple australien pour un avenir meilleur." (French)

"Kutsumme teitä kävelemään kanssamme liikkeessä Australiassa asuvien paremman tulevaisuuden puolesta." (Finnish)

Read and listen to the translations at: https://ulurustatement.org/translations.

By James Smith

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