About the Free Interpreting Service

About the Free Interpreting Service

The Free Interpreting Service aims to provide equitable access to key services for people with limited or no English language proficiency. TIS National provides the Free Interpreting Service, on behalf of the Department of Social Services. Using the Free Interpreting Service is easy and convenient. It is quick and simple for service providers to register and they can be connected to a phone interpreter within a few minutes.

Who is eligible?

The following groups can access the Free Interpreting Service to provide services to anyone in Australia who has a Medicare card:

  • Medical practitioners: when delivering Medicare rebateable services in private practice. Nurses, reception and other practice support staff can also access the service when working with the registered medical practitioner.
    For a list of approved Medical Specialists see: Medical Board of Australia - Medical Specialties and Specialty Fields.
  • Pharmacies: to dispense and provide information and advice about medicines and health care.
  • Non-government organisations: when providing casework and emergency services, where the organisation does not receive substantial government funding to provide these services. Note: Organisations receiving substantial government funding are not eligible for the Free Interpreting Service. Organisations delivering government funded services should discuss access to interpreters with their government funding body.
  • Real estate agencies: to discuss any private residential property matter.
  • Local government authorities: to communicate about most local government services.
  • Trade unions: to assist workers in access support and advice.
  • Parliamentarians: for constituency purposes.

Use the eligibility calculator to find out if you are eligible for the Free Interpreting Service.

How to register for the Free Interpreting Service

Eligible medical practitioners, pharmacies, real estate agencies, local government authorities, trade unions and parliamentarians can register for the Free Interpreting Service by completing the client registration form.

Non-government organisations providing approved casework or emergency services, which are not substantially government funded, should complete the Free Interpreting Service for Non-Government Organisations form.

If you experience difficulties in registering for this service, please contact TIS National on 1300 575 847 or at tis.lpl@homeaffairs.gov.au

The Department of Social Services recommends all agencies approved to access the Free Interpreting Service also register for the Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS).

More information about the Free Interpreting Service is available on the Department of Social Services website. Enquiries about eligibility for the Free Interpreting Service can be made on our online contact us form.

Services Available

Eligible groups can use the Free Interpreting Service to access interpreting services delivered by TIS National, including:

  • immediate phone interpreting
  • pre-booked phone interpreting
  • pre-booked onsite interpreting (not available to pharmacies or real estate agents)

Immediate phone interpreting is most useful for unplanned interactions. It provides:

  • access to over 3000 interpreters in over 160 different languages
  • interpreting services 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • connection to an interpreter within a few minutes of calling.

Pre-booked phone interpreting is useful for planned interactions, or if you know you need to request a less common language. When phone interpreting is not suitable, TIS National can arrange an interpreter to arrive onsite for a face-to-face appointment. This may be important when you have a group of people needing the same language interpreter, when you are discussing complex ideas or when you anticipate that the appointment will go for an extended period of time.

Accessing phone interpreting

Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS)
Our automatic voice-prompted interpreting service is the fastest way to request an immediate phone interpreter. This service is available for clients who need to use an interpreter immediately over the phone.

 

Call 1800 131 450 and say the language you need. Make sure you have your ATIS account number and ATIS access number, this is different to your client code.

Register for ATIS by completing the ATIS application form on our website.

If you already have an ATIS account but do not know your ATIS account/access number, contact our Language Policy Liaison team.

Important: ATIS cannot create a conference call for you. Check you are using a phone that has conferencing ability to call your non-English speaker if they're not with you.

View more information about ATIS including languages available

Watch the ATIS video

Immediate phone interpreting
Available for clients and non-English speakers who need to use an interpreter immediately over the phone.

Call the TIS National Contact Centre on 131 450 at any time of day or night to access an immediate phone interpreter.

Pre-booked phone interpreting
Available for clients to book a phone interpreter in advance of an appointment.

Requests for the pre-booked phone service should be actioned using the online pre booked phone interpreter booking form.

 
 
 
 
 

Accessing on-site interpreting

Accessing on-site Interpreting(subject to eligibility)
Available for eligible clients to book an interpreter to attend an appointment face-to-face.

On-site interpreting services can only be requested through TIS Online, our automated booking tool.

Login to TIS Online.

Contact the Channel Support team for on-site interpreter enquires.