Here you'll find answers to frequently asked questions. Click the categories below to find what you are looking for.
If your question isn't listed here, get in touch with us.
If you are looking for FAQs associated with the new certification system, click here.
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.
NAATI does not provide translation or interpreting services.
We are an accreditation authority – that is, we certify people who wish to work as translators or interpreters but, 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 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.
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.
As of 1 February 2017, applicants no longer need to have their application photos signed by a witness.
NAATI does not provide a reduction in fees for concession card holders, students or pensioners.
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.
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.
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.
No it is not. As NAATI is not an agency for the purposes of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, NAATI does 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.
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.
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.
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 (after 31 December 2017);
- Appear on the online directory (after 31 December 2017);
- Be able to revalidate (after 31 December 2017); and
- Be searchable through the online verification tool on our website (after 31 December 2017).
No. If you apply to transition before 30 June 2018, the NAATI Board has agreed to waive the transition fee. Should you choose to transition after this 30 June 2018, a transition fee will apply.
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.
As part of the transition to the certification scheme, NAATI will not revalidate any accreditations and recognitions expiring after 31 December 2017. Practitioners can apply to transition if they wish to maintain a current NAATI credential.
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 your accreditation or recognition expires between 1 October and 31 December 2017 and you transition, NAATI will automatically extend your current accreditation to expire on 31 December 2017. Your new credential will be valid from 1 January 2018.
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.
You may choose to provide either:
- 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 either:
- 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.
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).
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.
Yes. Recertification is a universal requirement under the new certification system.
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.
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.
NAATI anticipates that we will accept transition applications until the end of 2018. Transition fees are waived until 30 June 2018.
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.
No. NAATI has made a decision that we 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.
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.
Your current NAATI Number will be superseded by a new NAATI Practitioner ID. 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. NAATI will retain your historic data including your NAATI number in the new system.
Certification & Other Credentials
The current NAATI accreditation system turns 40 years old in 2017. Over that time, there has been no thorough review of the basis of the accreditation system. As such, 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 new model is known as certification.
NAATI anticipates that we will able to begin certification testing for these specialisations towards the end of 2018.
For practitioners who don’t complete a NAATI Endorsed Qualification: you will need to already hold a Certified Interpreter credential as well as satisfying the work practice and professional development requirements in order to access a Certified Specialist Interpreter test.
For practitioners who complete an appropriate NAATI Endorsed Qualification: you will be able to directly access the Certified Specialist Interpreter test without satisfying any other prerequisites.
Click here for details of all pathways for each certification type.
NAATI has made a public commitment that the cost of certification will be no higher than current accreditation related fees. We are optimistic that the improvements to our internal processes and systems will allow us to pass on lower application costs.
Whilst NAATI prefers that an individual accesses certification via a NAATI Endorsed Qualification, we are aware that endorsed qualifications will not be accessible in all languages. As such, NAATI has indicated that there will be a number of translator and interpreter online training modules made available.
These online modules will underpin entry for practitioners at the lowest levels of the certification system. Towards the end of 2017, NAATI will publish more detailed information about how to access the online modules.
NAATI expects to finalise and publish these test formats by the end of 2017.
From 2018, NAATI will no longer offer on-demand testing for certification. Certification tests will be scheduled based upon a number of factors including applicant demand and examiner availability.
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 for details of all pathways for each certification type.
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.
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)
More information will be released in late January 2018.
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.
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.
The cost of recertification will be in line with current revalidation related fees.
In any case, practitioners who successfully recertify every three years will receive (at no additional cost) -
- Automatic, free listing on the online directory (which will include limited details of accreditation history); and
- New electronic certificates, ID cards or Translator Stamps (depending on your credentials).
Yes. NAATI strongly encourages all practitioners that are currently part of revalidation to continue to keep records as usual throughout the transition period.
Practitioners can now log evidence of their professional development activities online via the myNAATI portal.
Examiners & Role-players
As contractors we pay individuals on a fee-for-service basis. Typically, this works out to around $50 per hour but this may vary depending on the type of work and the examiner’s experience.
Almost all of the work we do can be completed by the individual examiner in their own home and around any other commitments they may have. Most current examiners undertake NAATI contract work secondary to other employment.
Generally, every few years, NAATI opens a general expression of interest (EOI) process to recruit examiners across the range of languages we offer certification testing in.
These applications are then assessed by NAATI against a number of selection criteria, including:
- Current NAATI certification at an appropriate level
- Tertiary qualifications in translating, interpreting, language, linguistics or related discipline
- Near-native competence in English and the particular LOTE
- Extensive professional experience as a translator or interpreter
- Strong commitment to ethical practice
- A demonstrated ability to work with others
Click here to learn more.
It takes up to 4 weeks to prepare our products as they are made individually on demand. Once a product has been posted to you, via Australia Post, it can take up to 6 business days to reach most Australian addresses.
All practitioners holding a current Certification or Recognised Practising credential are automatically listed in the Online Directory at no further cost.
Practitioners will be able to edit or deactivate their listing by logging into their MyNAATI account.
All accreditation related directory listings will automatically expire on 31 December 2017.
You will need to ask your client or organisation what their requirements are.
Generally, you will be able to confirm your translations by writing:
- Your first name
- Your last name
- Your NAATI Practitioner ID
- The direction of your credential (English to LOTE or LOTE to English)
- Your credential expiry date
You will then need to sign your translation.
But remember, some organisations (eg. government departments) will only accept stamped translations so in some cases you’ll have to wait for your stamp.
All NAATI approved courses must administer assessments which are of similar substance and level to a NAATI accreditation test.
You will need to achieve the relevant score in the approved course assessments and complete the qualification to be recommended for NAATI accreditation.
If you are recommended for NAATI accreditation you will need to then fill out this application form and return it to us.
Please contact your chosen institution to learn more about their assessment.
You normally have 3 years to submit an application for accreditation by approved course. If you finished more than 3 years before applying then you will not be able to apply.
It normally takes 1 week for the application to be acknowledged and payment to be taken. Following that it normally takes 6 weeks for the application to be processed. So, you are looking at 7 weeks in total.
Click here to see the whole process.
No. You will need to receive a Letter of accreditation as proof that you have been accredited.
No. All NAATI accreditation letters are issued by post only and cannot be collected.
As part of the overall revenue mix, NAATI receives a financial contribution from each of our members (which are the commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia). These government contributions assist in maintaining our core capability to effectively maintain the accreditation system. The reduced fee payable by Australian citizens takes these government contributions into account.
The identified Knowledge, Skills and Attributes (KSAs) needed to work effectively as a translator or interpreter will provide the foundations for the new certification system. However, this does not mean that all of the KSAs will be assessed through a test.
The proposed certification system will consider the eligibility requirements to access certification, certification test design and the recertification (or revalidation) requirements.
I was awarded an Accreditation before 2007 and am not required to revalidate. Will the INT project change this?
The short answer is yes.
The certification system design process will establish recertification requirements that all practitioners will be required to meet. NAATI’s position is that as practitioners transition from the old accreditation system into the new certification system, they will be subject to this requirement.
If someone holding a pre-2007 accreditation does not seek access to the new certification scheme, NAATI will not seek to revoke that accreditation. In saying this, NAATI will no longer support the accreditation system after December 2017.
You can click here to learn more about the requirements to transition to certification. All certified practitioners will need to periodically demonstrate that these requirements have been met (via a recertification process) or their certification will expire.