Connecting People through Tech

Breaking down language barriers – using technology to connect Communities of Western Australia

5 minutes

31st of October, 2023

In the heart of the East Kimberly region of Western Australia lies the beautiful town of Kununurra, the traditional land of the Miriwoong People; a place where natural beauty and rich indigenous culture merge.

It is to this extraordinary region we recently journeyed to help bring a story about technology, communities and communication, to life.

Aboriginal communities in Western Australia collectively speak more than 60 languages, reflecting the richness of their heritage and cultural diversity. However, this linguistic diversity has long posed a challenge when it comes to accessing public services and engaging with law enforcement.

The Western Australia Police Force is responsible for the world's largest police jurisdiction, covering vast terrain where this diversity of language can be a challenge to effective communication.

'Yarning' is an app that changes the game by allowing officers to select and convey essential messages to Aboriginal People in their native language. The app also has an essential feature that connects users to an Aboriginal language interpreter who can provide real-time interpretation services.

Yarning is available to more than 7,000 police officers across Western Australia. It increases their awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture and important matters in Aboriginal communities. It also helps officers interact with Aboriginal people in a more respectful and equitable way.