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Rumbalpuy Dhäwu: Yolngu language anatomy dictionary app

Rumbalpuy Dhäwu is a comprehensive digital anatomy dictionary developed with ARDS Aboriginal Corporation. Meaning ‘Stories about the body’, Rumbalpuy Dhäwu is an ideal resource for medical practitioners, patients, Yolŋu language interpreters, and learners of Yolŋu matha and other Aboriginal languages.

Aboriginal language app for health professionals

A multilingual health mobile app

The app contains text, audio and visual explanations of Western anatomical terms, medical conditions and procedures.

It can be used by medical professionals to communicate medical terminology and conditions to Yolŋu-speaking patients, interpreters, patients, and friends of those trying to understand and access mainstream health care.

Supporting the maintenance of Aboriginal languages

Rumbalpuy Dhäwu makes Western understandings about health and medical terminology available in Yolŋu languages as well as supporting the maintenance of indigenous languages.

Audio translations and visual map

The audio content of this digital dictionary enables health professionals to play entries to patients in their first languages, and the picture-search capability makes the content more easily accessible to those Yolŋu matha speakers who don't read in their languages.

Aboriginal language app for health professionals

Translations of medical terminology

Where possible the app uses specialised Yolŋu terminology to translate the specialised English terminology.

The aim is to support continued use of these Yolŋu terms, many of which are not everyday terms. In other instances, the Yolŋu terms are coinages, just as they were coined originally in English.

For example, DNA is translated as djinaga'puy wäyuk, meaning ‘law of the inside’ or more literally ‘upper arm of the inside’.

These translation choices were made in order to help Yolŋu languages to stay vibrant through use in all areas of life.

Three different Yolngu languages

The app covers three different Yolngu languages: Dhuwal (Djambarrpuyŋu), Dhaŋu (Gälpu), Dhuwala (Gumatj). 

English-speaking users from many backgrounds can also benefit from the Plain English explanations of the medical terminology available here.

Aboriginal language app for health professionals

Audio translations of over 200 dictionary entries

Text definitions for over 200 medical terms are provided. These can be found by predictive text search, alphabetical list or category.

Each of the dictionary entries has recordings of Yolngu translations in Dhuwal, with some translations into Dhuwala and Dhaŋu.

Searchable visual dictionary

The dictionary app contains over 140 visual aids to explain Western medical terminology, anatomy, pathology and medical procedures.

An interactive body map (either male or female depending on the version of the app enabled) allows users to explore categories and entries.

Aboriginal language app for health professionals

Separate men’s and women’s health sections

The Rumbalpuy Dhäwu app has been developed with intensive community consultation. Sensitive and gender-specific terms can only be accessed with passwords according to cultural protocols.

Easy to revise and update entries

Interpreters and linguists are able to continually update the app using a web-based interface that connects to the mobile app. This enables the addition of new and revised entries.

Fully functional offline

The mobile app functions fully offline and uses only a small amount of data syncing latest updates when connected to the internet.

Available for iOS and Android

Download on the App Store
Get it on Google Play
View the web version


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