National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters

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The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (known as NAATI) is the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia. NAATI's mission, as outlined in the NAATI Constitution, is to set and maintain high national standards in translating and interpreting to enable the existence of a pool of accredited translators and interpreters responsive to the changing needs and demography of the Australian community. The core focus of the company is issuing credentials (known as accreditations or recognitions) for practitioners who wish to work as translators and interpreters in Australia.

Current Structure[edit]

NAATI is a non-for-profit company that is jointly owned by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments of Australia. It is governed by a board of directors who are appointed by the members.

The members of NAATI are the nine ministers who are responsible for multicultural affairs and/or citizenship in the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. Members may appoint a representative to exercise any of their powers in relation to NAATI. These Member Representatives are separate to the NAATI board of directors.

The current members of NAATI include:

Minister Relevant Title Jurisdiction
Senator Zed Seselja Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs Commonwealth
Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Youth Affairs Australian Capital Territory
The Hon John Ajaka MLC Minister for Multiculturalism New South Wales
The Hon Gerry McCarthy MLA Minister for Housing and Community Development, Essential Services and Public Employment Northern Territory
The Hon Ignazia (Grace) Grace MP Minister for Multicultural Affairs Queensland
The Hon Zoe Bettison MP Minister for Multicultural Affairs South Australia
Ms Sarah Courtney MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and Community and Veterans Affairs Tasmania
The Hon Robin Scott MP Minister for Multicultural Affairs Victoria
The Hon Dr Michael (Mike) Nahan MLA Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Western Australia

Operational functions[edit]

NAATI provides eight key services to assist individuals gain and maintain a credential to work as a translator or interpreter in Australia. These services include:

  • Accreditation testing
  • Accreditation assessments
  • Recognition assessments
  • Revalidation assessments
  • Approved Course assessments
  • Skills assessments for migration purposes
  • Online courses and preparatory workshops
  • Industry products

There are two types of NAATI credentials – accreditation and recognition.

NAATI accreditation is an acknowledgement that an individual has demonstrated the ability to meet the professional standards required by the translation and interpreting industry. NAATI assesses practitioners and aspiring translators and interpreters against these standards so that English speaking and non-English speaking Australians can interact effectively with each other.

There are a couple of different ways you can gain NAATI accreditation, including:

NAATI recognition is granted in emerging languages or languages with very low community demand for which NAATI does not offer accreditation. The granting of NAATI recognition is an acknowledgement that an individual has recent and regular experience as a translator and/or interpreter with no defined skill level.

NAATI approved courses are tertiary translation and interpreting qualifications (diploma-level or higher) conducted by individual VET and Higher Education institutions that are acknowledged by NAATI as teaching and assessing the skills and knowledge required by the industry. Where a qualification at an educational institution holds NAATI approval, students who complete the qualification and assessment at the standard required by NAATI may apply for NAATI accreditation without further testing by NAATI.

Revalidation is the established process by which translators and interpreters with accreditation and recognition demonstrate at regular intervals that they are active and committed to the translating and interpreting industry. Before the expiry of an accreditation or recognition, practitioners are required to provide evidence of continuing work practice and professional development to revalidate their credentials for a further three-year period.

NAATI offices in all states and territories of Australia also run various workshops for candidates to assist them in successfully obtaining their accreditation, and cover such topics as:

  • Insights into translating and interpreting
  • Ethics and professional conduct
  • Note taking
  • Basic interpreting and translating techniques
  • Test preparation

Outline of NAATI credentials[edit]

Under NAATI's current system, there are ten different types of credentials. These are listed in the table below.

Credential Name Pre-1992 Level Description
Conference Interpreter (Senior) 5 This is the highest level of NAATI interpreting accreditation. It reflects a level of excellence in conference interpreting, recognised through demonstrated extensive experience and international leadership. It encompasses and builds on the competencies of Conference Interpreter accreditation.
Advanced Translator (Senior) 5 This is the highest level of NAATI translating accreditation. It reflects a level of excellence in specialised translating, recognised through demonstrated extensive experience and international leadership. It encompasses and builds on the competencies of Advanced Translator accreditation.
Conference Interpreter 4 (I) This represents the level of competence required to handle complex, technical and sophisticated interpreting, in both consecutive and simultaneous modes, in line with recognised international practice. Conference interpreters operate in diverse situations including at conferences, high-level negotiations, court proceedings or may choose to specialise in a particular area(s).
Advanced Translator 4 (T) This represents the level of competence required to handle complex, technical and sophisticated translations in line with recognised international practice. Advanced Translators operate in diverse situations and may choose to specialise in a particular area(s) – including translating technical manuals, research papers, conferences, high-level negotiations and court proceedings.
Professional Interpreter 3 (I) This represents the minimum level of competence for professional interpreting and is the minimum level recommended by NAATI for work in most settings including banking, law, health, social and community services. Professional Interpreters are capable of interpreting across a wide range of semi-specialised situations and are capable of using the consecutive mode to interpret speeches or presentations.
Professional Translator 3 (T) This represents the minimum level of competence for professional translating and is the minimum level recommended by NAATI for work in settings including banking, law, health, social and community services. Translators at this level work across a wide range of subjects involving documents with specialised content.
Paraprofessional Interpreter 2 (I) This represents a level of competence in interpreting for the purpose of general conversations. Paraprofessional Interpreters generally undertake the interpretation of non-specialist dialogues. Practitioners at this level are encouraged to obtain Professional level accreditation if available.
Paraprofessional Translator 2 (T) This represents a level of competence enabling the production of a translation of non-specialised information (e.g. a birth certificate). Practitioners at this level are encouraged to obtain Professional level accreditation if available.
Recognised Interpreter This credential is an acknowledgement that at the time of the award the applicant has had recent and regular work experience as an interpreter, but no level of proficiency is specified. Recognised interpreters are encouraged to obtain accreditation as it becomes available.
Recognised Translator This credential is an acknowledgement that at the time of the award the applicant has had recent and regular work experience as a translator, but no level of proficiency is specified. Recognised translators are encouraged to obtain accreditation as it becomes available.

NAATI translator accreditation (professional level or higher) is usually awarded in one of the following directions:

NAATI interpreter accreditations (at all levels) are awarded in both directions.

Occasionally, NAATI has awarded accreditation in a language combination that does not feature English at the Conference Interpreter or Advanced Translator level e.g. Advanced Translator French to German or Conference Interpreter (Senior) French to/from Russian. This sort of accreditation can only be awarded on the basis of a professional membership of an international association such as AIIC or AITC.

NAATI and migration[edit]

NAATI accreditation can help people wishing to migrate to Australia in a number of ways:

  • Through a skills assessment (generally open only to those who have been sponsored by an employer, or nominated by a state or territory government)
  • By allowing them to claim points for certain qualifications obtained overseas, or for skilled employment as a translator or interpreter, which may be used towards a points-based migration visa
  • By allowing them to claim Credentialled Community Language (CCL) points, which may be used towards a points-based migration visa

NAATI is the assessing authority for the occupations of translator and interpreter in accordance with the Migration Regulations 1994. If you apply for a skills assessment (ie. an accreditation), NAATI will assess your skills as "suitable" or "not suitable" for your nominated occupation (i.e. translator or interpreter) against established standards (i.e. NAATI professional-level accreditation or higher).

See also[edit]

References[edit]