About the Free Interpreting Service

Who is eligible?

TIS National provides the Free Interpreting Service, on behalf of the Department of Social Services. The Free Interpreting Service assists approved organisations and individual service providers to communicate with eligible Australians who do not speak English.

Private medical practitioners and pharmacies are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service to assist in communicating with non-English speakers who have a Medicare card.

  • Private medical practitioners (defined as General Practitioners and Medical Specialists) can access the Free Interpreting Service when providing Medicare-rebateable services. Nurses, reception or other practice support staff can also access the Free Interpreting Service when working under the guidance of the registered Medical Practitioner.  

For a list of approved Medical Specialists see: Medical Board of Australia - Medical Specialities and Speciality Fields 

  • Pharmacies are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service for the purpose of dispensing Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medications.

The following groups are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service to assist in communicating with Australian citizens and permanent residents who do not speak English:

  • incorporated, non-profit, non-government, community-based organisations for approved 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.

  • licensed real estate agencies to discuss any private residential property matter (such as management of residential tenancies)

  • local government authorities to provide advice on issues such as rates, garbage collection and urban services

  • trade unions who respond to members’ enquiries or requests

  • Members of Parliament for constituency purposes

Eligible groups and individual service providers can access both phone and on-site interpreting services, with the exception of real estate agencies and pharmacies who can access phone interpreting services only.

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

Use our eligibility calculator to find out if you are eligible for free services through TIS National. 

How to apply for free services through TIS National

Eligible medical practitioners, pharmacies, licensed real estate agencies, local government authorities, trade unions and Members of Parliament complete the client registration form.

 Non- government organisations providing approved casework or emergency services complete the application for the Free Interpreting Service for Non-Government Organisations form. To be eligible, NGO's must be providing approved services or programs that are not substantially government funded.

More information is available about the Free Interpreting Service on the Department of Social Services website.

For enquiries about eligibility for free interpreting submit our online contact us from.  

Services Available

 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 agency 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 agency 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 agency 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.

 
 
 
 
 

Face-to-face

On-site interpreting service(subject to eligibility)
Available for eligible agency 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.