Updated on 04 Nov 2019
What is the difference between a translator and an interpreter?
Translators deal with the written word. They translate written documents from one language to another.
Interpreters deal with the spoken word or signed languages (such as Auslan). They interpret what each speaker is saying or signing into the other person’s language.
I need to get my document translated. Can you do it and how much does it cost?
No. NAATI does not provide translation or interpreting services.
We are an accreditation authority – that is, we 'licence' people who wish to work as translators or interpreters. Once certified, each translator or interpreter works for themselves (or an agency or some other organisation).
To find a certified practitioner, click here for our online directory. You will need to contact the translator(s) you have chosen directly.
My document was translated overseas. Why do I need to get it translated by a NAATI certified translator?
Each organisation or department has their own requirements about what documents, including translations, they will accept. You will need to ask the organisation that has requested a new translation why they won’t accept the overseas translation of your document.
How do I update my contact details?
The best way to update your details is through the MyNAATI portal. If you cannot access your account, please use the the get in touch form to contact our national office (and include your customer number).
You should update your contact details with us every time you change your address, phone number or email.
I am a concession card holder. Am I eligible for reduced fees?
NAATI does not provide a reduction in fees for concession card holders, students or pensioners.
What are some of the places I can get work once I become certified?
Many translators and interpreters choose to work for themselves as individuals. Others choose to work ‘in-house’ for specific businesses or organisations or for translating and interpreting agencies.
Why can’t NAATI influence the remuneration of interpreters and translators?
NAATI is aware of concerns over remuneration rates within the translating and interpreting sector. While we are happy to advocate for practitioners and support any initiative that aims to improve the pay conditions generally, we have no direct influence in determining remuneration rates.
A translator translated my document but I don’t think it’s a good translation. Who do I contact to make a complaint?
In any situation where you feel that an error has been made in the translation your first point of contact should be with the translator.
There are situations in which errors are made and can be corrected. However, this does not mean that a translator can be required to make a change they feel is inconsistent with the principle of accuracy as set out in the Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics also requires a translator to consider your feedback in a professional way and provide you with justification for their translation should this be asked for.
Should you wish to lodge a complaint after discussing the issue with the translator then you can do this with NAATI.
Is my NAATI credential recognised overseas?
NAATI is not aware of any formal recognition of NAATI credentials in other countries.
If you have any questions about the acceptability of your NAATI credential overseas, you need to contact the organisation who would receive your translation or for whom you might interpret for.
I want to access my test materials. Is NAATI subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act?
No it is not. As NAATI is not an agency as defined by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, we do not breach the terms of the act by refusing to release test materials to applicants.
Applicants acknowledge these terms when they sign their application form. The FOI Act also provides exemption for all testing materials.
Why won’t some government agencies accept non-NAATI issued stamps?
It is NAATI’s view that the individual requirements of each government agency is a matter for that respective agency. We encourage practitioners to contact agencies directly to check requirements for acceptable translations.
What if my chosen translator hasn't been able to transition to NAATI certification?
It is your responsibility to check whether the organistion or department you are submitting the translation to will accept older NAATI credentials. NAATI encourages all existing accredited translators to transition as NAATI certification is the accepted industry standard.
Do I have to transition?
No. It is not compulsory for anyone holding a current NAATI accreditation or recognition to transition to the new certification system. It is matter for each individual practitioner to decide. All credentials previously issued by NAATI remain valid for the period they were issued. In saying this, NAATI anticipates that the value of accreditation will diminish as NAATI certification becomes the preferred industry standard.
What happens if I don’t transition?
All credentials previously issued by NAATI remain valid for the period they were issued. However, the old accreditation scheme will not be supported in the longer term. This means that practitioners who choose not to transition will not be able to:
Order new ID cards or stamps for their accreditations;
Appear on the online directory; and
Be able to revalidate;
Will it cost me anything to transition?
Yes. As of 1 July 2018, a transition fee of $121 will apply.
Why should I transition rather than revalidate?
It is expected that NAATI certification will become the industry standard. Many employers (particularly in the government, legal and health sectors) will expect practitioners to have an up-to-date certification – it may become difficult to continue to get translating and interpreting work without it.
Should you choose to transition, you will be issued with newly designed products as well as opting in to be listed on the online directory at no cost.
My current accreditation expires in 2018. Can I revalidate?
No. Practitioners can apply to transition if they wish to maintain a current NAATI credential.
Do I have to transition all of my accreditations or recognitions?
No. It is up to each individual practitioner to decide which credentials they will transition. NAATI would encourage practitioners to transition any accreditation or recognition that is used regularly.
If only one/some of my credentials are currently part of the revalidation scheme and the others are not, what do I have to do?
You can use the wizard located on the transition page to work out what you will need to do for each individual credential.
Generally, if your credential is already part of the revalidation system, you will not need to provide any additional evidence. For credentials that are not part of the revalidation system, you will need to provide evidence of work practice in order to transition that credential.
What type of evidence can I provide to prove my work practice?
You may choose to provide one of the following:
A reference letter/s from your employer or agency detailing the work undertaken; or
A summary of work completed via a work practice record; or
A reference letter from an accountant detailing the income generated by translating and/or interpreting.
Translators: click here for more specific details.
Interpreters: click here for more specific details.
If you cannot provide any of the above, NAATI may consider accepting a statutory declaration.
What type of evidence can I provide to prove my skill in chuchotage (whispered simultaneous interpreting)?
You may choose to provide one of the following:
Evidence of training in chuchotage (as part of a formal qualification); or
Work references indicating ongoing work experience in chuchotage; or
Evidence of completion of a professional development training session on chuchotage.
If you cannot provide any of the above, you will be able to indicate to NAATI that you need to complete a chuchotage professional development training session. NAATI is partnering with AUSIT who will provide these sessions at no cost to the participants.
Do I have to submit any other professional development evidence (PD) as part of my application?
No. It is only practitioners who are transitioning from Professional Interpreter to Certified Interpreter that have to provide evidence of their skill in chuchotage (whispered simultaneous interpreting).
If I transition, what will be my new expiry date?
Decisions about expiry dates will be made on a case-by-case basis. No recertification dates will occur in 2018. The earliest will be 2019.
As a general rule, NAATI expects that your new certification expiry date will be within one year of the expiry date of your accreditation or recognition when you transition. For example, if your current accreditation expiry date is 12 June 2018, we'd expect that your certification expiry date would be 12 June 2019.
If your accreditation or recognition has no expiry date, that is revalidation is not required, then we expect that recertification will be required 2.5 years to 3.5 years from the point you transition.
If I transition, do I have to recertify?
Yes. Recertification is a universal requirement under the new certification system.
Can I synchronise dates for all of my credentials as part of the transition?
Yes. NAATI expects that we will be able to synchronise multiple credentials so that they all show the same expiry date under the new certification system. In most cases, we expect that they will be aligned to the furthest date.
Can I apply for the new interpreter specialisations as part of my transition?
No. These new specialisations have no equivalent under the current accreditation system, so a practitioner cannot transition straight to them. Practitioners holding Certified Interpreter will need to meet one of the prerequisite pathways in order to be eligible for Certified Specialist Interpreter testing.
How long do I have to submit a transition application?
NAATI anticipates that we will accept transition applications until July 2019.
Can I still use my current translator stamp if I don’t transition?
Should you choose not to transition, that decision is up to you. Each organisation (including government departments) will determine its own policies for acceptability of translations (as currently occurs).
NAATI expects, that as we move through 2018, more and more agencies and departments will require a certified practitioner to complete the translation for it to be accepted.
Can I still be on the online directory if I don’t transition?
No. NAATI has made a decision that we will not list non-transitioning practitioners on the directory from January 2018. This is irrespective of whether the practitioner holding the accreditation or recognition is willing to pay a fee to be listed.
Where can I do the chuchotage professional development session?
You will be contacted with the details of upcoming sessions should you nominate that you need to attend a session during the transition preregistration process or on your transition application.
What happens to my NAATI number if I transition?
Your current NAATI Number will become your customer number (to keep track of your interactions with NAATI). Transitioned practitioners will be issued a new NAATI Practitioner ID for professional purposes. Please be aware that you will not be searchable via the online directory or online verification tool using a NAATI Number after 31 December 2017.
What is the new NAATI certification system?
NAATI began a journey in 2011 to raise our standards of testing and certification. NAATI-commissioned research, led by Professor Sandra Hale, resulted in the Improvements to NAATI Testing Report (INT Report) and the subsequent formation of the Improvements to NAATI Testing Project (INT Project). One of the key deliverables of the INT Project is to introduce a new model for NAATI credentials, standards, testing and assessment. This model is known as certification.
How often are certification tests scheduled?
Certification tests are scheduled depending on the number of people wanting to be tested in a particular language, and the availability of examiners.
How can I upgrade from Certified Provisional Interpreter to Certified Interpreter?
There are multiple pathways to upgrade your credentials from Certified Provisional Interpreter to Certified Interpreter.
Generally, if you already hold Certified Provisional Interpreter and do not wish to complete a NAATI Endorsed Qualification, you will need to provide us with:
Evidence of at least three years’ work experience in the language combination; and
Evidence of completed Professional Development activities to support advanced practice.
Click here to learn more.
Do I have to upgrade my credentials in a certain time period?
No. There will be no requirement for certified practitioners to attempt to ‘upgrade’ to the next type of certification.
In cases where NAATI introduces certification testing for Certified Provisional Interpreter or Certified Translator in languages where only Recognised Practising credentials have been awarded, practitioners who hold Recognised Practising will automatically be notified if testing is scheduled.
I'm a Deaf interpreter. Can I be recognised?
Yes. A NAATI Recognised Practising credential as a Deaf Interpreter (DI) may be obtained for the specialised interpreting and translation that DIs perform.
Applicants seeking Deaf Interpreter credentials will need to attach evidence of their Auslan proficiency with their application form.
Acceptable evidence of Auslan proficiency includes:
Evidence that the applicant has completed the majority of their primary and secondary education (up to year 12) where Auslan, or English and Auslan, were the languages of instruction. The evidence must show the number of years completed (not just that education to a particular year, year 12 for example, has been completed); or
A letter from a state-based Deaf Society confirming the applicant’s membership in the local deaf community and fluency in Auslan:
Completion of a diploma in Auslan teaching; or
Current Certified Provisional Interpreter (Auslan-English) certification (or higher)
Do I need to be certified to work as a translator or interpreter?
There is no law that says you must have NAATI Certification to work as a translator or interpreter. However, NAATI sets the standards for the translating and interpreting profession in Australia and most employers and users of language services will expect you to be certified. You may find it difficult to get work without certification.
I already hold NAATI Certification, can I claim CCL points?
Yes. If you are awarded a NAATI certification can claim CCL points without sitting any additional testing.
NOTE: if you are awarded Recognised Practising Interpreter or Recognised Practising Translator you cannot claim CCL points.
All you need to do is provide a copy of your official credentialing letter with your visa application.
If you need to download a new copy of your letter, you will need to login to myNAATI.
I’m currently enrolled in a NAATI Approved Course, what should I apply for?
Students who start their qualification in a NAATI Approved Course before 1 January 2018 but do not complete it until 2018 or later will be eligible to sit a test with the institution for NAATI accreditation, as long as the institution meets all of the conditions of approval associated with the course.
In some cases, you may be able to sit a certification test (rather than an accreditation test) if your course becomes a NAATI Endorsed Qualification. You will need to check with your institution before applying to NAATI.