Frequently Asked Questions for agencies

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) has produced some Frequently Asked Questions designed to answer some common questions for agencies and businesses about our services.

If you cannot find what you are looking for on our website please contact us and a TIS National staff member will help with your enquiry.

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Getting started with TIS National+Expand content

How do I ensure my client code is not misused?

Ensuring your client code is not given to unauthorised users will help you control the usage and cost of interpreting services incurred by your agency.

The security of your client code is your responsibility so it is essential that you monitor who has access to use it within your organisation.

There are options available to associate ‘required information’ fields with your client code to help monitor who is using the account. Contact your Client Liaison and Promotions account manager for more information.

How do I start using TIS National services?

To access TIS National’s interpreting services your agency needs to register an account with TIS National.

There are no administration fees for registering an account with TIS National. You will only be charged for individual interpreting services.

To register an account with TIS National by phone, contact a Client liaison and promotions account manager and provide:

  • a contact name and phone number
  • if possible, a secondary contact name
  • your email address
  • the name of your agency
  • the phone number you would like our operators to call when a non-English speaker requests to speak to your agency
  • an Australian mailing and postal address
  • any required information you need recorded on individual job records.

You will also need to decide if your agency would like to accept calls to your agency initiated by your non-English speaking clients.

Once you have registered an account for your agency you will be provided with a TIS National client code.

I am not sure if I have a client code. What should I do?

Contact a Client Liaison and Promotions account manager and we will search our system for a record of your account.

Should I accept ‘NES initiated’ calls?

Government services should be available to everyone who is entitled to them and should be free of any form of discrimination irrespective of a person’s country of birth, language, culture, race or religion. If you are a government agency you have an obligation under the whole of government Access and Equity strategy to provide services that are accessible to clients with limited English skills by providing interpreters.

TIS National encourages private agencies to promote Access and Equity as it ensures non-English speaking clients have the same level of access to services as an English speaker would have. Where an agency does not accept interpreter-assisted calls requested by non-English speakers, the non-English speaker will most likely seek access to these services through an agency which does.

There are options available to associate ‘required information’ fields with your client code to help monitor who is using the account. Contact your Client liaison and promotions account manager for more information.

What is a ‘NES initiated’ call?

A ‘NES initiated’ call is a call where a non-English speaker (NES) calls TIS National directly and requests the assistance of an interpreter to speak with your agency.

If your agency accepts NES initiated calls, TIS National operators will connect the NES to your agency with an interpreter already on the line.

When TIS National receives a NES initiated call, our operator will phone your agency and introduce themselves. When your agency has agreed to accept the call the operator will connect you with the NES and interpreter and provide the job number before leaving the conversation.

What is a job number?

A job number is a nine digit number TIS National will give you as a reference to each interpreting service.

Job numbers are automatically generated in our system when a new interpreting job has been created and is provided to you and to the interpreter. Write this number down as a record of the service in case you have any follow up enquiries about the service.

What is a TIS National client code?

A TIS National client code is your agencies unique account number. Client codes are provided to agencies that register for TIS National services.

You will need to quote your client code each time you request a TIS National service, pay an invoice or update your account details. You can start accessing TIS National services once you have a TIS National client code.

What is required information?

Agencies use TIS National services in different ways. Agencies needs will vary depending on the type of interactions they have with non-English speakers in the community.

As part of our premium service offering we can record information on individual jobs each time services are accessed through TIS National. This can assist you to:

  • maintain records of services
  • identify who communications campaigns are reaching
  • easily reconcile financial accounts.

Examples of required information could be:

  • requesting that non-English speakers are connected to a specific phone number 
  • capturing unique identifiers and other information to help identify your non-English speaking clients
  • capturing unique identifiers to help you identify staff using the account.

Contact your Client liaison and promotions account manager to discuss what required information options can be included on your account.

What proportion of phone services are ‘NES initiated’?

Currently more than half of all immediate telephone interpreting services are requested by non-English speaking clients.

Why should my organisation use TIS National services?

TIS National’s resources and depth of experience makes it ideally placed to provide professional interpreting services for all Australians.

TIS National:

  • provides phone interpreting services 24 hours, every day of the year 
  • has over 40 years of experience in the industry
  • helps your organisation provide equitable access to services to non-English speakers in the community
  • provides the highest accredited interpreter available in the language requested.

TIS National is a leader in the interpreting industry and uses contracted interpreters who:

Other useful information+Expand content

Does TIS National provide interpreters in indigenous languages?

No. For interpreters in indigenous languages please refer to the Kimberley Interpreting Service (KIS).

How do I update my details?

The easiest way to update your personal details is through TIS Online. From the ‘My profile’ page you can update your name, position, contact phone number/s and email address.

Account administrators can also update your agency’s information in TIS Online from the ‘Agency account’ page, including your agency’s main account contact person, address information and communication preferences.

Alternatively, please contact our Client Liaison team to update your details.

What service standards can I expect from TIS National?

TIS National commits to answer calls to the contact centre within 30 seconds 90 per cent of the time.

If you request an on-site interpreter, TIS National commits to responding to your request within 3 working days 85 per cent of the time.

What should I do if my non-English speaking client is hearing impaired?

If you have a hearing impaired client, contact the National Relay Service and ask them to call TIS National for a language interpreter.

Service charges, free services and invoicing+Expand content

Do government agencies need to accept and pay for services initiated by a non-English speaker?

Yes, as a Government service you have an obligation under the Whole of Government Access and Equity strategy to provide services that are accessible to clients with limited English skills by providing interpreting services. 

At the time of registration, authorisation is provided to TIS National to charge your agency for the costs of using interpreters. This includes all attempts to contact your agency; unanswered calls and those that go to voicemail. 

There are options available to associate ‘required information’ fields with your client code to help monitor who is using the account. Contact the Client Liaison Team for more information.

Do private sector organisations have to accept and pay for calls initiated by a non-English speaker?

TIS National encourages private agencies to promote Access and Equity as it ensures clients with limited English skills have the same level of access to services as an English speaker would have.

At the time of registration, authorisation is provided to TIS National to charge your organisation for the costs of using interpreters. This includes all attempts to contact your organisation; unanswered calls and those that go to voicemail.

To make changes to your account settings, log into TIS Online and from the ‘Agency account’ page scroll down to the ‘Communications’ section and edit the question ‘Will you accept calls initiated by the non-English speaker?’

There are also options available to associate ‘required information’ fields with your client code to help monitor who is using the account. Contact the Client Liaison Team for more information.

 

How do I pay my invoice?

Payment can be made by cheque, money order, credit card or electronic funds transfer.

Bank cheques, personal cheques and money orders can be mailed to:

TIS National

GPO Box 241

MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Credit card details can be provided by:

Payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) can be made to the following account:                                                                                                                                           

DIBP Official Departmental Receipts and Payments - TIS Account

TIS National

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)

ACT Government Banking Centre

 

BSB Number: 062987

Account Number: 10016108

How much does it cost to phone TIS National from a landline or mobile phone?

You can call TIS National for the cost of a local call throughout Australia. Charges for calls from mobile phones may attract a higher rate depending on the mobile service provider you use.

How much does it cost to use an interpreter?

Service charges vary according to the type of service provided. Interpreting costs will generally be charged to the agency.

For current service charges refer to the schedule of service charges.

How will I be charged for services I have used?

TIS National clients are charged by invoice on the first day of each month for all transactions processed during the previous month.

For example, an invoice with an issue date of 1 April 2013 will include an itemised list of services billed during March 2013. Any overdue items will also be listed on the invoice.

To request an invoice from a previous month to be reissued contact the TIS National Finance administration team.

I am a Medical Practitioner. Am I eligible for free interpreting services?

Medical practitioners (defined as general practitioners and medical specialists) are eligible for the Department of Social Services' Free Interpreting Service and access to the Doctors Priority Line (DPL) when providing services that are:

  • Medicare-rebateable
  • delivered in private practice, and
  • provided to non-English speakers who have a Medicare card.

A full list of eligible medical practitioners is available from the Medical Board of Australia’s website.

Doctors who meet the above criteria can apply for access to free services and access to the DPL by completing the Register for a TIS National client code form.

Is my agency eligible for free interpreting services?

The following organisations and individual service providers are eligible for the Free Interpreting Service, funded by the Department of Social Services.

 

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 eligible 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, not-for-profit, non-government, community-based organisations for approved casework and emergency services where the organisation does not receive substantial funding to provide these services

Note: Organisations that require language services (such as interpreting) and receive substantial government funding should incorporate the cost of these services into their application for funding.

  • licensed real estate agencies to discuss any private or 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 of constituency purposes

Find out if you are eligible for the Free Interpreting Service. Non-government organisations delivering casework and emergency services to Australian citizens and permanent residents can apply for free interpreting services through TIS National by completing the NGO application form. All other eligible organisations or individual service providers complete the client registration form

More information is available about the Free Interpreting Services through TIS National at www.dss.gov.au/free-interpreting.

Our agencies budget has been reduced. Should I consider limiting the use of interpreting services to reduce expenditure?

No. You should ensure your agency includes costs for interpreting services in your application for funding.

The term ‘initiated by’ appears on my invoice. What does this mean?

‘Initiated by’ is a reference used by TIS National which refers to the individual that requested the interpreting service.

If the invoice states ‘initiated by Agency’, the interpreting service was requested by an agency staff member using your agencies client code.

If the invoice states ‘initiated by NES’, the interpreting service was requested by a non-English speaker requesting to contact the agency.

The term ‘NES’ appears on my invoice. What does this mean?

‘NES’ is a reference used by TIS National for ‘non-English speaker’.

What is the Doctors Priority Line?

The Doctors Priority Line (DPL) is a free phone interpreting service which helps medical practitioners quickly connect to an interpreter to communicate with their non-English speaking patients.

The DPL is available to eligible medical practitioners 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Contact the TIS National Language policy liaison team for more information about the DPL.

What is TIS National’s Australian Business Number?

TIS National’s Australian Business Number (ABN) is 33 380 054 835.

When is payment for my invoice due?

All invoices must be paid by the 28th day of the month. For example, payment for an invoice with an issue date of 1 April 2013 is due by 28 April 2013.

Where do I send my remittance advice?

Email is TIS National’s preferred method for receiving remittances however you may also send remittances by fax or mail. Please ensure that you have clearly indicated which invoice is being paid on the remittance.

Email: tis.finance@border.gov.au

Fax: 03 9235 3682

Postal Address:     TIS National

GPO Box 241

MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Who should I contact to discuss my invoice?

For any questions relating to your TIS National invoice contact the TIS National Finance administration team between 9 am and 5 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Why did I receive a cheque from TIS National?

TIS National will issue a refund by cheque for any credit which is the result of an overpayment, duplicate payment or payment made in error. An email detailing the refund will be sent in advance of the cheque.

If you have any questions about a cheque you have received from TIS National contact the TIS National Finance administration team.

Why does my invoice include two charges for the same job?

Pre-booked telephone and on-site services are requested in advance and scheduled for a specific period of time. If the actual interpreting time of the appointment runs longer than the scheduled time, the agency will be charged for the extra time.

Charges for extra time will appear on your invoice as a separate line item with ‘A1’ at the end of the job or invoice number.

For example, if an on-site interpreter is booked for 90 minutes but the actual session lasts for 120 minutes, the charge will be split into two items on your invoice. The first item will be for the time that was booked (90 minutes), and the second item will be for the additional time (30 minutes).

Support from TIS National+Expand content

Can I request a service usage report from TIS National?

Yes. Contact your Client liaison and promotions account manager to request a service usage report.

Can TIS National conduct a presentation for our agency?

If your agency is interested in having a representative from TIS National conduct a presentation at your organisation, you can submit a request to your Client liaison and promotions account manager who will let you know if it will be possible and if there are any associated costs.

Contact your Client liaison and promotions account manager for more information.

How can I access TIS National promotional materials?

TIS National provides a range of promotional materials with useful information about our services.

A range of promotional materials can be viewed, saved or printed directly from the promotional materials catalogue.

Some promotional materials can also be ordered in hard copy using the Promotional materials request form.

How can I promote TIS National on my website or communication products?

Many organisations that use our services choose to recommend our interpreting service to their clients. You can advise your clients of the service by including our logo and phone number:

  • in information packs and booklets

  • on bills and account statements

  • in community directories

  • in letters you send to your clients

  • on promotional materials and websites.

Before advertising TIS National to your clients, it is important to ensure that your organisation is registered for the service.

Contact a Client liaison and promotions account manager for assistance promoting TIS National.

How do I provide feedback to TIS National?

TIS National values client feedback as it helps us to provide a high quality service to our clients. We track feedback patterns and use it to identify potential service issues and update our processes.

We receive a range of feedback including feedback about:

  • interpreter conduct and performance

  • operator conduct and performance

  • experiences when using TIS National services

If you would like to provide feedback to TIS National please complete the online feedback form. Alternatively you can contact the feedback team on 133 177 to provide feedback to TIS National. 

When TIS National receives feedback it is recorded in our systems and referred to the appropriate team in TIS National to investigate within fifteen days of receiving it.

How will I know if TIS National experiences an outage?

If you cannot contact TIS National it may be because we are experiencing an outage. If this happens, please refer to the Alerts section of our website for details.

If TIS National experiences an outage our immediate telephone operators can work on a manual system. Operating on the manual system can be a time consuming process and you may not be provided with a job number at the time of the call.

I have recently moved agencies. Can I use the same client code I used at my previous agency?

No. If you have moved to a new agency ask your manager at your new agency if they use TIS National services.

If your new agency uses TIS National services you should find out:

  • what client code they would like you to use 

  • what (if any) information you may need to provide to TIS National when requesting services.

If your new agency is not registered with TIS National but would like to use our services, contact a Client Liaison account manager for advice on the most appropriate service solutions for the organisation.

What is a TIS National account manager?

TIS National has a dedicated team of Client liaison and promotions account managers who are available to help you and your organisation communicate with your non-English speaking clients.

Account managers are specialists in providing assistance to a wide range of client groups including:

  • commonwealth and state government agencies

  • private sector businesses

  • hospitals

  • medical practitioners in private practice

  • community sector organisations

  • utility companies

  • police and courts

  • local government

  • schools and universities

  • emergency services

Account managers can provide information and advice about the most suitable service solutions for your organisation.

Account managers can:

  • help you select the most suitable service options for your requirements

  • understand your clients’ needs

  • guide you on how provide feedback to TIS National

  • assist you to conduct an information session

  • provide advice on promoting TIS National services

  • provide access to promotional materials

  • provide service usage reports

Contact your Client liaison and promotions account manager for more information.

What should I do if I am having difficulty finding interpreter in the language I need?

If you are having difficulty finding an available interpreter in your requested language, we encourage you to call during our off-peak times.  During off-peak times high demand languages are more likely to be available.

TIS National’s peak demand times are between 10 am and 5 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Monday to Thursday. During these times you may experience difficulty accessing an interpreter in the language required.

Calling between 8 am to 10 am (AEST), Monday to Thursday and any time on Friday may improve your chances of finding an available interpreter in the language required.

Alternatively you can pre-book a phone interpreter to ensure an interpreter will be available.

What should I do if I lose my client code?

If you have lost or misplaced your TIS National client code contact a Client liaison account manager.

What should I do if TIS National does not provide interpreters in the language I need?

If TIS National does not offer interpreting services in the language you need please let us know by providing feedback. You can provide feedback using the Feedback form.

TIS National services+Expand content

Does TIS National provide conference interpreting?

No, TIS National does not provide conference interpreting services.

TIS National endeavours to develop services in line with feedback received from our clients. To provide TIS National with feedback about services you require which are not currently available complete our online feedback form to let us know.

Does TIS National provide document translation services?

TIS National does not provide a commercial document translation service. If you need to complete a commercial translation, you can search for a credentialed translator through the National Accreditation Authority for Translating and Interpreting (NAATI) website.

The Department of Social Services provides a free translating service for people settling permanently in Australia. Permanent residents and select temporary or provisional visa holders are able to have up to ten eligible documents translated, into English, within the first two years of their eligible visa grant date.

From 1 July 2017, applications for the Free Interpreting Service are made online at www.translating.dss.gov.au. Clients need to provide evidence of their eligibility for this service when applying. More information about the Free Translating Service is available at www.translating.dss.gov.au.

What is ATIS automated phone interpreting?

ATIS is an automated voice-prompted immediate phone interpreting service. ATIS is a service for agency clients to access an interpreter in high demand languages without assistance from a TIS National operator.

ATIS uses voice recognition technology to identify the language requested, and automatically connect you with an interpreter in that language. ATIS allows you to avoid lengthy call wait times you may experience when calling the contact centre for an immediate phone interpreter.

ATIS provides immediate phone interpreting services in the following 54 high demand languages:

 Albanian  Hazaragi  Portuguese
 Amharic  Hindi  Punjabi
 Arabic  Indonesian  Rohingya
 Assyrian  Italian  Russian
 Bengali  Japanese  Samoan
 Bosnian
 Karen
 Serbian
Cantonese
Khmer
 Sinhalese
Chaldean Kirundi Somali
Chin Haka Korean
Spanish
Croatian Kurdish (Faili)
Sudanese Arabic
 Dari Kurdish (Kurmanji)
Swahili
 Dinka Macedonian
Tamil
 Farsi Mandarin
Thai
 Filipino Myanmar language
Tibetan
 French Nepali
Tigrinya
 German Oromo
Turkish
 Greek Pashtu Urdu
 Hakka (Timorese) Polish Vietnamese

 

ATIS users receive a discount of up to 10 per cent off TIS National’s immediate phone interpreter charges, so using the service is an excellent opportunity for clients to reduce interpreting costs. See Phone interpreting for more information.

What is Illegal Maritime Arrival interpreting?

Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) interpreting involves interpreters attending immigration detention facilities and regional processing centres on request from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, to provide interpreting services to assist with the IMA response.

What is immediate phone interpreting?

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

The immediate phone interpreting service can be accessed by agency and non-English speaking clients who need to use an interpreter immediately over the phone with the assistance of a contact centre operator by calling 131 450. Agency clients can also access an interpreter immediately over the phone by using ATIS.

 

What is on-site interpreting?

Our on-site interpreting service is available for agency clients to book an interpreter to attend an appointment face-to-face.

When using a phone interpreter would not be suitable, TIS National can arrange for an interpreter to visit your location. On-site interpreting services can be arranged for any location in Australia (subject to interpreter availability).

You can easily request and manage all of your on-site interpreter bookings through TIS Online. Using TIS Online allows us to secure an interpreter for your request in the shortest possible time frame.  All agencies registered with a TIS National account are automatically registered to use TIS Online. Find out more about TIS Online or visit the TIS Online login page to get started.

What is pre-booked phone interpreting?

The pre-booked phone interpreting service is available for agency clients to book a phone interpreter in advance of an appointment.

Pre-booking your phone interpreter will ensure any special requirements can be catered for and that the best available interpreter can be secured for the time you nominate. Pre-booking an interpreter is recommended when the assignment may be complex, requires specialist knowledge or the availability of interpreters in a particular language is limited.

Pre-booking allows time for background or briefing material to be provided and examined by the interpreter, so the actual interpreting time is used in the most efficient manner. In many cases, using a pre-booked phone interpreter has proven to be an effective and less expensive alternative to providing an on-site interpreter. To request a pre-booked phone interpreter fill out the interpreter booking form

What languages are available through TIS National?

You can view the languages provided by TIS National on our Languages available through TIS National page.

What services can I access using TIS National?

TIS National provides access to the following interpreting services:

  • Immediate phone interpreting

  • Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS)

  • Pre-booked phone interpreting

  • On-site interpreting

  • Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) interpreting

TIS Online for agencies+Expand content

Are any training materials available to help me use TIS Online?

Yes. You can access a copy of A guide to TIS Online for agencies in Portable Document Format (PDF) as well as view the TIS Online instructional video for agencies from the TIS Online for agencies section of our website.

Can I cancel my bookings in TIS Online?

Yes. TIS Online allows you to easily cancel your bookings up until the scheduled completion time.

If we are unable to fill a booking or you cancel a booking more than 24 hours before the scheduled start time, you will not be charged for the booking.

Can I change my bookings in TIS Online?

Yes. You can make changes to your bookings in TIS Online up to 24 hours before the scheduled start time of the booking.

If you change the name of the non-English speaker or the interpreter instructions, the booking will be updated immediately.

If you change the address, start or end time of the booking when it is already allocated to an interpreter, this may impact the interpreters’ ability to complete the job so the interpreter will need to re-accept the job.

Can I receive my invoice through TIS Online?

No. TIS Online does not record financial information. TIS National invoices are issued by email using our eBilling system.

Can I request a pre-booked phone interpreter through TIS Online?

Currently only standard on-site interpreting jobs can be managed through TIS Online.

Can I see my past bookings in TIS Online?

Yes. You can see your agency’s past bookings in TIS Online. This can be a useful function when reconciling your invoice.

Can I view all of the bookings for my agency in TIS Online?

Yes. You can view all bookings for your agency in TIS Online.

Can multiple staff in my agency use the same TIS Online account?

Yes. Account administrators can invite other staff in your organisation to use the same TIS Online account so you can manage all of your bookings centrally.

Do I need to do anything in TIS Online after the interpreter has attended the appointment?

Yes. Once a job has been completed, you can finalise the booking with TIS National through TIS Online. If you haven’t finalised a job in TIS Online within 7 days after the booking took place, it will be escalated to a TIS National staff member to resolve.

Do I still need a TIS National client code if I use TIS Online?

Yes. Your TIS Online account is linked to your TIS National client code which enables you to access our other interpreting services, including phone interpreting.

Do I still need to sign the interpreters SDF when they attend the appointment?

Yes. While bookings can be finalised directly through TIS Online, it’s important you sign the interpreters SDF at each appointment so that in case a dispute arises, we can refer to the SDF to verify the appointment details.

Do interpreters use TIS Online too?

Yes. Interpreters use TIS Online to accept all of their on-site interpreting work through TIS National. As interpreters also have the ability to use TIS Online, the time it takes to allocate an interpreter to your request should reduce significantly when you use TIS Online.

Does TIS Online log me out after a certain period of time?

Yes. TIS Online automatically logs you out after 20 minutes of inactivity to ensure no one else can access your account if using your computer or device.

Does TIS Online notify me when an interpreter is assigned to my booking?

Yes. TIS Online automatically notifies you by email (and SMS if you’ve nominated a mobile contact number) when an interpreter has been assigned to one of your bookings.

TIS Online will also notify you immediately if the interpreter can no longer attend the appointment or we assign a new interpreter to the booking.

Does TIS Online work on mobile devices?

Yes. TIS Online works on most internet-enabled mobile devices, so you can manage your jobs wherever and whenever it’s most convenient for you. We recommend that you regularly update the software on your mobile device to make sure TIS Online works most effectively.

How are interpreters allocated to bookings?

New booking requests are automatically posted out to all interpreters who meet the job requirements, to self-nominate for the job. Job requirements include:

  • the language they interpret in

  • their National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) credential level

  • their location

  • their availability

  • other criteria you have requested, such as gender.

How can I access support using TIS Online?

You can contact the Channel Support team if you need assistance using TIS Online. The team is available during standard business hours. For urgent enquiries outside of these hours, please call the TIS National contact centre on 131 450.

For assistance with matters not related to TIS Online, please refer to the contact us section of our website.

How can I provide feedback about TIS Online?

You can provide feedback about TIS Online by completing our feedback form. Alternatively, you can contact the feedback team on 133 177.

How far in advance of an appointment can I book an interpreter through TIS Online?

You can make requests up to 90 days in advance of an appointment.

How long does it take to assign an interpreter to my booking?

As jobs requested in TIS Online are automatically posted out to all interpreters who meet the job requirements rather than manually calling individual interpreters, the time it takes to allocate an interpreter to your request should reduce significantly when you use TIS Online.

The lead time to find an interpreter for your booking will vary for each job, however we anticipate most booking requests will be accepted by an interpreter within a day, if not within a matter of hours.

How much does it cost to use TIS Online?

Services requested through TIS Online attract the same rates as our standard on-site interpreting charges. View our service charges.

I work in a medical practice. Can all of our doctors share a TIS Online account?

Unfortunately each medical practitioner still needs their own personal TIS Online account. This is only the case where the doctor is using a Free Interpreting Service account, as the approval to access services for free is allocated to individual practitioners rather than the entire practice.

If I don’t want to use TIS Online can I continue using the online booking form?

No. The online interpreter booking form is only for pre-booked phone interpreter requests, all on-site requests must be lodged through TIS Online.

If the interpreter doesn’t arrive for an appointment can I let TIS National know through TIS Online?

Yes. If the interpreter does not attend the appointment, you can submit a dispute of the booking easily in TIS Online. These will be escalated to a TIS National staff member to follow up.

Is there a TIS Online app?

No. At this stage you need to access TIS Online using an internet browser, however it may be useful to bookmark TIS Online onto the home screen of your mobile device for easy access.

What can I do through TIS Online?

TIS Online allows you to log into your personal account to:

  • make new on-site interpreter bookings

  • view and update your existing on-site interpreter bookings

  • finalise or dispute completed on-site interpreter bookings

  • update your details and invite other staff in your organisation to use the account

  • receive notifications by email and SMS as the status of your bookings change.

What does TIS Online notify me about?

TIS Online sends you notifications when:

  • your account is updated

  • you create a new booking request

  • an interpreter has been assigned to a booking

  • an interpreter assigned to a booking can no longer attend

  • a booking has been changed

  • a booking is cancelled

  • a booking is ready to be finalised

  • a booking is varied or disputed.

What is the latest time I can book an interpreter through TIS Online before an appointment?

You can create a new on-site interpreter booking request on TIS Online any time up until 24 hours before the appointment start time. If you need to request an on-site interpreter with less than 24 hours’ notice before the appointment start time, please contact the Channel Support team.

What is TIS Online?

TIS Online is an automated booking tool which allows agency clients and interpreters to request and manage their TIS National on-site interpreter bookings online.

What languages can I request through TIS Online?

TIS Online allows you to request an interpreter in any language TIS National provides interpreting services in. You can see the full list of languages available through TIS National when you create a new booking request in TIS Online.

What will happen if no interpreters accept my booking?

If it reaches 48 hours before the scheduled start time of your booking and no interpreters have accepted your booking, TIS National treats the request as an urgent job and starts manually calling interpreters to fill the booking. If no available interpreter can be found, you will receive a notification when the booking is cancelled.

What’s an account administrator?

An account administrator can be one or more people within your agency responsible for managing your agency’s TIS Online account. Account administrators have access to more functionality in TIS Online than account agents or account contacts.

What’s an account agent?

Account users are people within your agency who have been invited to access your agency’s account by an account administrator. Account agents can request and manage on-site interpreter bookings in TIS Online, but do not have access to the full range of TIS Online functions as an account administrator.

When can I use TIS Online?

TIS Online is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, so you can use it whenever it’s convenient for you.

Will I get the highest credentialed interpreter through TIS Online?

Yes. TIS Online always offers bookings to the highest credentialed interpreters first. Your booking will only be offered to lower credentialed interpreters when no higher credentialed interpreters have accepted it after being available for six hours.

In your request, if you select that you would only like a professional level interpreter, your booking will be offered to professional level interpreters exclusively.

Will TIS Online work on my computer?

TIS Online has been designed for both PC and Apple-based operating systems and has been optimised for recent internet browsers. To ensure TIS Online renders most effectively, we recommend you regularly update your internet browser.

Using TIS National services+Expand content

Can I keep the same interpreter for more than one appointment?

Yes. If you know in advance that you have more than one client you need to communicate with who speak the same language, you should submit a single booking request for the appointments.

When you send the request ensure you:

  • list each non-English speaker on the request

  • list in the special requirements field that the booking is for multiple appointments

  • request the interpreter for enough time to cover the multiple appointments.

Can I request a pre-booked phone or on-site interpreter by fax?

In an effort to create a streamlined and paperless booking process TIS National no longer accepts booking requests sent by fax.

On-site interpreter bookings must be requested through TIS Online.

Pre-booked phone interpreter requests must be submitted using our online interpreter booking form.

Can I request a specific interpreter?

TIS National’s policy is to allocate work to interpreters on the basis of their:

This ensures that clients receive the most qualified available interpreter. 

In some circumstances, limited additional factors such as those outlined below may be taken into account in determining allocation. However, the highest available credential level always remains a primary criterion.

Gender:

TIS National accepts that there are sometimes circumstances where an interpreter of a specific gender is required.  For example, this may be necessary for sensitive matters, especially those of a medical nature. To facilitate this, clients can indicate the gender of interpreter required (where this is important). TIS National will then allocate the highest credentialed available interpreter of that gender, wherever possible.

Working with Children’s Check:

Occasionally, clients may advise TIS National that they require an interpreter with a Working with Children’s Check. Such requests are made in order to comply with relevant legislation and TIS National will therefore give such requests priority when determining allocation. In these circumstances, allocation will be to the most highly credentialed available interpreter who holds the required Check.

Specific Interpreter Requests:

TIS National strongly encourages clients to avoid requesting specific interpreters where possible.

Such requests:

  • limit TIS National’s ability to supply an interpreter, particularly for urgent requests (the specified interpreter may not be available when requested); and
  • may not result in allocation of the most highly credentialed interpreter available for your appointment.

In exceptional circumstances, TIS National may agree to fulfil a client’s request for a specific interpreter.  However, the client must first clearly demonstrate what exceptional circumstances apply to warrant allocation outside of normal policy. 

Whilst such requests are assessed on a case by case basis, they are more likely to be considered favourably where a client can demonstrate that allocation of the nominated interpreter is:

  • essential to maintaining the quality and continuity of care or service; and
  • of clear benefit to the non-English speaking client.

Clients will be required to complete an indemnity form, including details of the exceptional circumstances which apply, before TIS National will consider a specific interpreter request.

Specific interpreter requests must generally be made at least three business days prior to the appointment date. Requests made less than three business days in advance will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and will generally result in an interpreter being allocated in accordance with normal TIS National allocation policy.

If a specific interpreter request is declined, the client will be offered the highest credentialed interpreter available at the time. Where a client chooses not to accept the interpreter allocated in this manner and decides to cancel the request, this must be done at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment start time in order to avoid charges, in accordance with TIS National’s cancellation policy. Cancellations must be made in TIS Online or in writing, as appropriate.

No other considerations are ordinarily taken into account when allocating assignments. 

TIS National:

  • does not keep records on interpreters’ ethnicity, religion or political affiliations and is unable to allocate interpreters based on these considerations
  • will not provide a specific interpreter simply to meet the personal preferences of the client or non-English speaker (NES)
  • will not agree to allocate a specific interpreter outside of the usual allocation policy where there is no evidence to substantiate a history or continuity of care or service.

Can I request an interpreter based on gender?

Yes. The non-English speaker may feel more comfortable using an interpreter of a particular gender only. This could be due to: 

  • a sensitive health issue

  • domestic issues

  • cultural differences

If you require an interpreter of a particular gender, please advise TIS National when you submit your booking request.

Can I request an interpreter based on their cultural background or religion?

No. TIS National assigns work to interpreters on the basis of National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) credential (qualification) level and availability to ensure you receive the most qualified available interpreter. TIS National cannot assign work to an interpreter on the basis of cultural background or religion.

How do I cancel a booking?

Cancellation of pre-booked phone or on-site assignments must be made in the following manner:

 

  Pre-booked
phone assignments
  On-site assignments
booked on TIS Online

On-site assignments not
booked on TIS Online
 

 

In writing to tis.prebook@border.gov.au, including the relevant job number

 Through your 
TIS Online account
 In writing to tis@border.gov.au, including the relevant job number

If you experience any issues with your booking cancellation, please contact the pre-booked phone interpreter or Channel Support team, as appropriate.

Cancellations made at least 24 hours before the scheduled booking start time will not incur service charges. Cancellations made less than 24 hours before the scheduled booking start time will incur charges, in accordance with the TIS National Cancellation Policy.

How do I request a pre-booked phone interpreter?

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

We endeavour to allocate an interpreter to your request within three days of receiving your request. Once an interpreter has been allocated to the assignment you will receive a booking confirmation by email or fax including the appointment details. This confirmation includes the details you need to follow at the scheduled booking time to connect with your interpreter.

Bookings will only be accepted for appointments up to 90 days in advance of the date of request.

How do I request an ATIS immediate phone interpreter?

To use the automated, voice prompted, immediate phone interpreting service (ATIS), you need to have an account and access numbers (these are different to a TIS National client code). To request an ATIS account and access numbers, complete the ATIS application form or contact a Client liaison and promotions account manager.

ATIS cannot create a conference call for you.  Check you are using a phone that has conferencing ability to call your non-English speaker or that the phone has a speaker if they are with you.

Call 1800 131 450 to connect to ATIS. You will be asked to say and confirm the language interpreter you need, before entering the preferred gender of your interpreter and your ATIS account and access numbers.

Once ATIS connects you with an interpreter you will be provided a job number. Write this number down as a record of the call in case you have any follow up enquiries.

If you experience issues during your ATIS interpreting session, press 0 on your keypad and you will be connected to a TIS National operator for assistance.

You can also view the ATIS help sheet for more information about using the service.

How do I request an immediate phone interpreter?

TIS National provides access to immediate phone interpreters 24 hours, every day of the year. Call the TIS National contact centre on 131 450 at any time of day or night to access an immediate phone interpreter.

When you call 131 450 for immediate phone interpreting the TIS National operator will ask you for the following information:

  • language required

  • your client code

  • your agencies name and the section you work in

  • your name and phone number

  • the non-English speakers name and phone number

  • any required information your agency has requested be recorded by TIS National (for example, an identification number or claim number)

To help our operators process your request as quickly as possible, please have this information ready to provide when requested.

How do I request an on-site interpreter?

On-site appointments are usually booked by the organisation that needs to communicate with their non-English speaking client.

You can easily request and manage all of your on-site interpreter bookings through TIS Online. Using TIS Online allows us to secure an interpreter for your request in the shortest possible time frame.  All agencies registered with a TIS National account are automatically registered to use TIS Online. Find out more about TIS Online or visit the TIS Online login page to get started.

I'm having difficulty securing a phone interpreter. What can I do?

If TIS National has not been able to find a phone interpreter for your request, the following tips and hints may help.

Level of accreditation - On your original request you may have asked us to only consider interpreters with professional accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). It may be helpful to re-assess whether it is crucial you only use a professionally accredited interpreter, as considering using a lower or nil-accredited interpreter can significantly improve your chances of securing an interpreter. TIS National’s procedure when filling requests is to always allocate the highest accredited available interpreter first. Also note, NAATI accreditation is not available in all languages. We will be unable to fill your request in these languages if you have requested we only consider professionally accredited interpreters.

Other languages spoken by your client - Does your client speak more than one language other than English? If they do, it may improve your chances of securing an interpreter if you request an interpreter in another language they speak as it increases the pool of interpreters we can contact and the likelihood of an interpreter being available.

Have the information ready - Having all of the necessary information with you when you call TIS National for an immediate service assists our operators to source the required interpreter as quickly as possible, allowing them to answer as many calls from clients as possible each day. When you call 131 450, you can assist our operators by having the following information with you:

  • your client code
  • your agency's name and the section you work in
  • the language required
  • your name and contact phone number
  • the non-English speaker's name (you can choose to keep this confidential)
  • the non-English speaker's phone number (if you need us to call them)any required information your agency has requested be recorded by TIS National (for example, an identification number or claim number).

Off-peak times - High demand for interpreting services during peak times can affect the amount of time it takes for our clients to connect with an operator and be allocated an interpreter when using our immediate service. To avoid lengthy wait times and improve your chances of being connected with an available interpreter it may be helpful to call TIS National during our quieter times. If you have the ability to call during our off-peak times between 8 am and 10 am Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) from Monday to Thursday and all day on Friday, you may have a better chance of finding an available interpreter.

ATIS - Using TIS National’s automated voice-prompted immediate phone interpreting service, ATIS, allows agency clients to access an interpreter in a range of high demand languages without assistance from a TIS National operator. ATIS automatically connects you with an interpreter in the requested language allowing you to avoid lengthy call wait times you may experience calling the contact centre for an immediate phone interpreter. Register for ATIS online or call our Client liaison and promotions account managers on 1300 655 820 for more information.

I'm having difficulty securing an on-site interpreter. What can I do?

If TIS National has not been able to find an on-site interpreter for your request, the following tips and hints may help.

Level of accreditation - On your original booking request you may have asked us to only consider interpreters with professional accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). It may be helpful to re-assess whether it is crucial you only use a professionally accredited interpreter, as considering using a lower or nil-accredited interpreter can significantly improve your chances of securing an interpreter. TIS National’s procedure when filling requests is to always allocate the highest accredited available interpreter first. Also note, NAATI accreditation is not available in all languages. We will be unable to fill your request in these languages if you have requested we only consider professionally accredited interpreters.

Other languages spoken by your client - Does your client speak more than one language other than English? If they do, it may improve your chances of securing an interpreter if you request an interpreter in another language they speak as it increases the pool of interpreters we can contact and the likelihood of an interpreter being available.

Send your request in advance – Sending your request approximately two weeks before the scheduled appointment time will generally give you the greatest chance of securing an interpreter. This will increase the pool of interpreters who are available to accept the assignment as they haven’t already made prior commitments. While TIS National can accept on-site booking requests up to 90 days in advance of an appointment, these requests can be difficult to fill as many of our interpreters will not be able to commit to a booking too far in advance. When TIS National receives an urgent job request (i.e. within three business day of the requested time) it will be processed within a 24 to 48 hour period. Booking requests for an interpreter for the same day the request is submitted are actioned immediately. However it’s important to note that in these cases the pool of interpreters available to accept the request will be somewhat limited, as it’s likely our interpreters will have already accepted other bookings at that time.

Schedule your appointments together - If you need an interpreter in a particular language for more than one of your clients, try to schedule your appointments with them on the same day. By scheduling the appointments together, you can book a single interpreter for a longer period of time and use them for multiple client appointments.

Provide an alternative date and time - When sending your booking request, if possible, provide an alternative date and time for your appointment. This will provide our booking team with another option to find you an available interpreter in the case no one is available at your preferred time.

Include accurate booking details - When completing your booking request it is important you include accurate booking details to ensure we can process and complete your booking as required.

Use a phone interpreter instead - If you have been notified that we can’t provide an on-site interpreter for your booking, consider if it would be possible to use a pre-booked or immediate phone interpreter. Using a phone interpreter allows us to draw from a pool of interpreters across Australia, rather than only considering interpreters based in your location. Using a phone interpreter also provides a greater level of privacy for your client, particularly when the only suitable on-site interpreter may be known personally to your client.

My phone call cut out when I was using a phone interpreter. Can I get reconnected?

If you lose the connection with your client and/or interpreter during a phone service, you can be re-connected by calling 131 450 and quoting your job number.

You must call back within five minutes of being disconnected to continue with the same interpreter and job. Calls can only be reconnected within five minutes to ensure the interpreter is not disadvantaged by being unable to accept other work they may be offered.

What do I need to do if I have booked an interpreter for an on-site home visit?

You must provide the correct on-site address and include any specific instructions the interpreter needs to be aware of.

The site contact needs to be on time to meet the interpreter at the scheduled appointment time as the interpreter is not permitted to enter the premises without the agency site contact present.

What is a Service Delivery Form and why did the interpreter ask me to sign it?

A Service Delivery Form (SDF) is a written record that the interpreter attended an on-site assignment.

Our interpreters need the SDF signed to verify the start and end times of the appointment as agreed with the agency. This helps TIS National calculate what payment the interpreter is entitled to for the assignment.

It is important that you ensure the start and end times are recorded accurately on the SDF and it is signed at the end of appointment. If your appointment ran over time it is important to reflect this time on the SDF.

What is TIS National’s cancellation policy?

TIS National understands that clients will occasionally need to cancel a booking.

Cancellation of pre-booked phone or on-site assignments must be made in the following manner:

  Pre-booked
phone assignments
  On-site assignments
booked on TIS Online

On-site assignments not
booked on TIS Online
 

 

In writing to tis.prebook@border.gov.au, including the relevant job number

 Through your 
TIS Online account
 In writing to tis@border.gov.au, including the relevant job number

 

In exceptional circumstances such as when a client does not have access to email or their TIS Online account and an assignment is scheduled to start within 24 hours, cancellation may be advised by calling TIS National on the following numbers:

 

During business hours:

Outside business hours: 

Pre-booked phone assignment 

On-site assignments 

 1300 655 081

1300 655 082

131 450

 

However, subsequent notification in writing is still required.

Where cancellation is made at least 24 hours before the scheduled start time of a job, no charges will apply and the assigned interpreter will not be entitled to payment. Where less than 24 hours’ notice of cancellation is provided, standard TIS National interpreting service charges apply and the assigned interpreter will generally be entitled to payment for the assignment.This ensures the assigned interpreter does not suffer any financial loss where insufficient notice of cancellation has been provided.

For cancellation of standard on-site assignments, the 24 hour notice period is calculated on the basis of calendar days, including weekends and public holidays. Therefore, where a standard on-site assignment is scheduled to start on a Monday and is cancelled on the previous Friday, this is sufficient notice of cancellation and no charges will apply.

For cancellation of full day or Extended Travel on-site assignments, the 24 hour notice period is calculated on the basis of normal business days. For example, if a full day or Extended Travel on-site assignment scheduled to start on a Monday is cancelled on the previous Friday, the time between cancellation and the start of the assignment is less than 24 hours (excluding the weekend). This would therefore be insufficient notice and charges will apply.

Assignments up to one day in duration cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice will attract a charge for the full scheduled duration of the job, with the assigned interpreter generally also paid for this same period. Multiple-day bookings cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice will attract a charge for one full day’s interpreting (which may also include interpreter travel time and costs, if the interpreter has already commenced associated travel).  Cancellation of subsequent days in a multiple-day booking would be considered to be with sufficient notice and therefore do not attract a charge or payment.

Immediate phone interpreting assignments commence as soon as the interpreter is connected. Cancellation after this point is not possible and standard TIS National interpreting service charges will apply.

 

When can I access TIS National services?

TIS National immediate telephone services are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year by calling 131 450. The amount of time it takes to connect to a contact centre operator is generally shorter in the morning between the hours of 8 am and 10 am Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), and all day on Fridays.

ATIS immediate telephone services are also available 24 hours a day, every day of the year by calling 1800 131 450.

Pre-booked telephone interpreting and on-site interpreting requests are monitored 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Most of our business support teams are available between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday AEST (excluding public holidays). These teams include:

  • Interpreter Liaison

  • Client Liaison

  • Language Policy Liaison

  • Finance Administration

To contact any of the business support teams, visit our contact us page.

Why was TIS National unable to allocate an interpreter to my booking request?

High demand for interpreting services can affect the availability of our interpreters. To avoid lengthy wait times and to improve your chance of being allocated an interpreter in our high demand languages it may be helpful to booking the service in advance.

Will I be notified if TIS National cancels my booking?

Yes. There are occasions when TIS National may need to cancel a pre-booked telephone or on-site interpreting assignment as no interpreters are available. TIS National will notify the agency contact person listed on the booking request if this occurs.

Working with TIS National interpreters+Expand content

Are TIS National interpreters insured?

Yes. TIS National interpreters are insured for professional indemnity, public liability and workers compensation.

Can I give an interpreter a gift?

No. TIS National interpreters abide by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics which states that interpreters should not accept gratuities or other benefits outside of their payment for their services.

Can TIS National interpreters provide cultural advice to me?

No. A TIS National interpreter facilitates communication with a non-English speaking client and does not conduct interviews, give advice, complete forms for you or your client or provide their own personal opinion.

Do I have to provide a break for an interpreter?

If a session runs for longer than 90 minutes you will need to provide the interpreter with sufficient breaks. Interpreting can be very demanding and interpreters should be provided with sufficient breaks to eat and rest.

Does TIS National provide training on working with interpreters?

Our website provides some useful information about working with TIS National interpreters.

TIS National can also assist you to work effectively with interpreters by developing a presentation slideshow specific to your organisation. Contact a TIS National Client Liaison and Promotions account manager for more information.

How do I know that my interpreter is competent and qualified?

TIS National is committed to providing the highest quality interpreting service to our clients.

TIS National ensures that interpreters are competent and qualified by:

TIS National also maintains an active feedback register to record both positive and negative feedback and follow up issues when required. We strongly encourage you to provide feedback as it helps us identify issues we may not be aware of.

How do I know that the interpreter will keep information from the interpreting session confidential?

TIS National interpreters understand their responsibilities and perform under the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics so are required to keep the content of a an interpreting assignment confidential. Information received during an interpreting assignment can only be disclosed when mandated by law.

What are my Workplace Health and Safety obligations when working with on-site interpreters?

As our interpreters perform work on-site on your request, they are subject to the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) policies and procedures of your workplace.

The best way to help minimise risks to TIS National interpreters is to factor them into your WHS planning, such as providing the interpreter with a WHS orientation when they arrive at the site.

Orientation for interpreters may cover topics such as:

  • the nature of the operations of your business and the associated hazards and risks

  • appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety

  • processes for receiving information about incidents, hazards and risks in your workplace

TIS National interpreters are provide information about their obligation to attend WHS orientations when attending on-site assignments when requested.

If an incident occurs involving an interpreter while performing an on-site assignment in your workplace, please contact the TIS National Interpreter liaison team immediately to inform us of the incident.

What are some tips to get the most out of my interpreting session?

Some tips to help you use interpreters most effectively are:

  • Allow time prior to the interview to brief the interpreter so they have an understanding of what the session entails.

  • Be sure to have a private area organised where the session can take place.

  • Arrange seating in a triangular form to allow for easy communication between the interpreter and the client.

  • It is ideal to position yourself so that the non-English speaking client is directly facing you and the interpreter is sitting to the side.

  • Introduce yourself and brief the interpreter on the main topics you will be discussing.

  • Ensure the interpreter knows what type of telephone you are using and if they are on speaker phone.

  • Always speak in the first person and speak directly to the non-English speaker.

  • Allow the interpreter to clarify information if necessary.

  • Use clear language and short sentences.

  • Avoid using jargon, slang, idioms or proverbs.

  • Include a pause after each sentence so that the call participants do not talk over each other or cut each other off.

  • If it is a long call, the interpreter may require a few minutes break on the half-hour.

  • Clearly indicate the end of the conference call to everyone involved.

What are some tips working with interpreters in domestic violence situations?

The Department of Social Services (DSS) website provides a fact sheet about interpreters and family safety.

What are the levels of interpreter accreditation and what do they mean?

Accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) is the only qualification officially accepted for the interpreting profession in Australia.

There are three main levels of interpreter accreditation available through NAATI.

Professionally Accredited (level 3 and above):

Professional Interpreters are suitable for specialisations such as health, legal and formal proceedings. 

Para-professionally accredited (level 2):

Paraprofessional interpreters are for the purpose of general conversations and undertake the interpretation of non-specialist dialogues. 

Not accredited (Nil accredited or NAATI recognised):

Nil accredited interpreters undergo interview and reference checking process by TIS National to ensure their work is of a high standard. For languages where accreditation is not available you may be allocated a nil-accredited or NAATI recognised interpreter.

What happens if my non-English speaking client doesn’t answer the phone?

If your call is connected with an interpreter and your non-English speaking client does not answer the call, you can request that the interpreter leave a voicemail message.

Provide the interpreter with:

  • non-English speaker’s name (if available)
  • your name
  • your organisation name.

The interpreter will then be able to leave a voicemail message.

For example:

Hello [insert non-English speaker’s name]

I am an interpreter calling from TIS National on behalf of [insert your name] from [insert your agency name].  Please contact TIS National on 131 450 and ask to be connected to an interpreter in [insert non-English speakers language] and to call [agency name]. 

What information does the interpreter need to provide to me?

TIS National interpreters can provide their name and personal identification number to agency clients. The interpreter can choose not to disclose their name to the agency client. In this case the client should address the interpreter as “interpreter”.

For on-site jobs the interpreter will need the agency client to sign a Service Delivery Form (SDF), which is their written proof that the job took place.

What is my role and what are my responsibilities during an interpreting session?

The role of the agency is to manage the interview and conduct a free flow of communication. It is important to firstly introduce yourself to the interpreter and brief the interpreter on the situation.

If you are using an on-site interpreter the correct seat positioning is essential to get the most out of your session is a triangular seating setting.

When using a phone interpreting service it is important to provide details of the phone you are using and also allow the interpreter to introduce themselves to the client. You should maintain eye contact with your non-English speaking client to show that they are the centre of your attention.

If the interview is booked for a long period of time, it is the agency’s responsibility to provide regular breaks to the interpreter as they will need to recharge their batteries throughout the session.

What is the interpreter’s role and what are their responsibilities during an interpreting session?

The interpreter’s role is to accurately convey the whole spoken message from one language to another while abiding by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics.

The AUSIT Code of Ethics is intended to regulate the professional conduct of Australian interpreters and includes:

  • professional conduct

  • confidentiality

  • competence

  • impartiality

  • accuracy

  • clarity of role boundaries

  • maintaining professional relationships

  • professional development

  • professional solidarity

The interpreter should arrive on time and stay for the duration of your booking, unless you require the session to finish early.

What should I expect when using a TIS National interpreter?

TIS National gives priority to interpreters who have National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation, which provides a guarantee of interpreter skill and accuracy.

TIS National interpreters understand their responsibilities and perform under the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics. Our interpreters maintain professional behaviour and keep the content of a conversation confidential whilst abiding by their Code of Ethics. Our interpreters facilitate communication with the non-English speaking client and do not conduct interviews, give advice, complete forms or provide their own personal opinions.

Why is the interpreter speaking in the first person?

Professional interpreters speak in the first person to ensure they accurately interpret what is being said. This avoids confusion and ensures that the message is being interpreted and understood correctly by all parties.

If you are unsure about what is being said or by who, ask the interpreter to clarify what was said.