Palawa Kani Language Translation for Loved Cartoon

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A local Theatre Company and an animation production house are partnering with Tasmanian Aboriginal writers, producers and voice actors to translate an episode of a loved children’s animated series into palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF), Ned Lander Media and Screen Tasmania, the project is to make a palawa kani recording of an episode of the multi award-winning Aboriginal children’s animated television series titled Little J and Big Cuz which is broadcast on NITV and ABC Kids.

The episode was written by Tasmanian Aboriginal author and screenwriter, Adam Thompson, and is seen as an important work for the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

The episode, titled “Shelter” is from season 3 of the television series, produced by local animation house Blue Rocket.

Big Monkey Theatre was awarded over $47,000 to make the recording and Chair Jeff Michel said it The Tasmanian Arts sector has had an incredibly difficult time since the pandemic, and this project would inject a welcome boost to local artists.

“Little J and Big Cuz, won the 2018 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Program, which speaks to the artistic merit of the series,” Michel said.

Local writer Adam Thompson said he was over the moon that his episode is being translated to palawa kani and is glad that the Tasmanian Aboriginal community will now be able to connect with the episode on an even greater level.

“Having our language showcased so broadly through the medium of television, demonstrates the Tasmanian Aboriginal people's resilience, and our strength in culture and language,” Thompson said.

“It has a big impact on Aboriginal kids, seeing their language featured in mainstream media helps to solidify and build pride in their identity at a young age.”

In each of the previous series a palawa kani version of an episode has been recorded and produced using Tasmanian voices.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Youth and palawa kani Worker Rosetta Thomas said the Tasmanian Aboriginal community felt such pride to see and hear their language on the TV screen.

“Everyone was so proud that all the actors’ parts were by palawa kani speakers from the community and some of them were our young people who learn language in the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s youth groups,” Rosetta said.

“This episode is another great achievement in our long-term project to reinstall our language and have it passed from generation to generation within the Aboriginal community and also to have it honoured by the public.”

TCF Chair Sally Darke said the TCF Board was proud to be able to support the project as it benefits Tasmanian Aboriginal artists

“It will create greater dissemination of palawa kani in the Tasmanian community and will benefit Tasmanian school children who don’t often get exposure to Tasmanian made Aboriginal content,” Darke said.