Why we did this project

Approximately 16% of individuals aged 65 and over are from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and may not speak English well. For these individuals care may not be equitable, as it cannot always be provided by people who speak the same language. As a result, there is growing demand for interpreting services in hospital, residential aged care, and community aged care settings in Australia. Because the use of interpreters is expensive and there can be access difficulties they are generally only considered for one-off assessments or when more complex information is being communicated. While there is technology that supports voice to voice translation, such as Google Translate, none have been specifically designed with the needs of older people, including those with dementia, in mind.

What we did

With funding from the Federal Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund (DACS), NARI collaborated with Curve Tomorrow and Mercy Health to develop AvertoTM. AvertoTM is an app-based translation product designed with and for older people from CALD backgrounds. It was trialled for three months by 24 older CALD individuals, and 25 Homecare Staff. Participants took part in pre- and post-trial questionnaires/interviews, as well as follow up conversations and an in-app survey. Homecare staff were also invited to take part in a focus group.

What we found

Of all Averto’sTM functions, users overwhelmingly preferred to use the direct translation, ‘let’s talk’ function of the app, rather than the more structured ‘pre-set’ components of the app. Most participants reported being satisfied with the app, and that they enjoyed using the app during homecare visits. However, some reported they still were able to ‘get by’ without translation technology. Homecare staff indicated a strong desire to have the app on their work phones, so that they could take it to all homecare visits or when providing cover for other care staff.