Linguists recognised by Indonesian government

Senior managers from Sekretariat Negara Republik Indonesia. L-R: Eko Harnowo, Syarif Hidayatullah, Indriawaty, Nurmeilawati and Conakry Marsono Yamtomo.

International recognition of the calibre of Monash translation experts was demonstrated by a recent visit by senior Asian delegates. 

Five senior managers from Indonesia’s Ministry of State Secretariat visited Monash as part of an interdisciplinary program on “Developing Translation and Interpreting Services in Indonesia”.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Australia Award Fellowship (AAF), they recently joined 20 fellows from across the Indonesian archipelago for a 10-week program at Monash.

The Ministry of State Secretariat offers technical and analytical support to the President and Vice-President of Indonesia. They are interested in linking the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics (LLCL) capability in translation, interpretation and writing to Indonesia’s current needs. 

This desire reflects a recent legal change which requires all official international engagement in Indonesia to be conducted in the Indonesian language. Indonesia currently lacks capacity in translation and interpreting, particularly in regional areas. 

MSI program leader Dr Paul McShane said language offered a window to culture.

“It provides a basis for a shared understanding of Australian and Indonesian perspectives on sustainable development challenges,” he said. “MSI is happy to be a part of this important work.” 

His views were echoed by LLCL’s Associate Professor Rita Wilson.

“The recent high level visit from Indonesian officials reflects a successful program and a commitment to enduring collaboration with Monash University,” she said.

“The feedback and response from the visiting fellows was overwhelmingly positive. We were delighted to be involved in such a successful program and we look forward to ongoing engagement with Indonesia.”

A farewell for the 20 AAF fellows and the five senior officials from Indonesia was held in the newly renovated Monash Staff Club. The Acting Consul-General Government of Indonesia and the Victorian Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade attended, along with a number of Monash staff.