OneTalk Goes Global - Territory Q Issue 7
An innovative communication tool created in Darwin is helping people from around the world.
OneTalk’s Talking Books and Talking Posters have been translated into 22 languages in Victoria.
They are mainly being used to inform refugees and non-English speaking people about immunisation.
Kate Russo, Program Coordinator at the not-for-profit Networking Health Victoria, says the books have been a “great success” and the posters will be rolled out soon.
“They are very good for communication,” she says. “We are so happy with them that we’re promoting them in the Department of Health and Human Services Immunisation Statewide newsletter.”
The colourful books and posters have battery-powered, tamper-proof recording devices and “talk” at the touch of a button.
OneTalk was devised by publisher and creative thinker Anya Lorimer to overcome the communication challenges facing Indigenous people by giving health and other wellbeing messages in language.
She quickly realised that the books and posters could be used in many other ways.
“They can be customised to give any message in any language,” says Ms Lorimer, who owns Darwin-based
The books being used in Victoria have been translated into languages such as Dari, Mandarin, Tagalog, Hakka and Arabic.
They are used at immunisation sessions to explain the process and ask questions.
“Before anybody can be immunised they must be asked a few questions – it’s called a pre-immunisation checklist,” says Ms Russo. “The questions are such things as, ‘Are you pregnant?’
“Refugees are usually very happy to be immunised or for their children to be immunised. But we need their informed consent.”
“There’s not usually an interpreter where the immunisation is taking place. Talking Books make people feel welcome as well as communicating an important message. We want people to know exactly what we’re doing.”
Australia has the most comprehensive immunisation schedule in the world, which means every child migrating to the country needs some level of catchup immunisation.
The Talking Books are also in English and have proved useful for visually impaired people and those with low literacy.
Networking Health Victoria is helping immunisation providers to access and use the Talking Books, with more orders on the way.
“We’ve already had requests for more languages to be available,” Ms Russo says.
The Talking Posters carry various pictures of young children but with the same message: immunisation saves lives.
Ms Russo says five languages fit onto one A2 poster.
OneTalk has been a success in Aboriginal communities in northern Australia, where books and posters are used to convey a range of messages – from the dangers of substance abuse to using an ATM.
Ms Lorimer says OneTalk recognises two great truths: that Indigenous culture is based on the spoken word and that communication with Aboriginal people in remote Northern Territory communities is different to communication with Aboriginal people in Redfern.
“One size doesn’t fit all,” she says.
“OneTalk meets the challenges of poor literacy and numeracy skills, and other custom challenges, such as kin, skin and clan.
“Authorities can spend tens of thousands of dollars making a DVD in language to get across a message – say, about drugs or domestic violence.
“But that requires someone to arrange a meeting in each community to show the DVD.
“OneTalk posters can be put up in communities – nailed to a wall, pinned up in a clinic, tied to a star picket. And every time someone presses a button the message is heard by everyone within earshot.
“Government agencies are guaranteed to get their message across regardless of who’s delivering it or where it’s being delivered.”
OneTalk has been recognised at a national level as important communication tools.
The innovation was selected for a coveted national marketing award at the Australian Marketing Institute gala event in Sydney and was the only Northern Territory finalist in its category last year.