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Certified Specialist Legal Interpreter

A CSLI is…

Certified Specialist Legal Interpreters are experienced and accomplished interpreters who are experts in interpreting in the legal domain. They have completed training and undertake continuous professional development in specialist legal interpreting.

They are highly competent language users, who understand specialised terminology and have extensive knowledge of the legal domain. CSLIs have a sophisticated understanding of their role in legal settings, for example as officers of the court. They have a full and detailed knowledge and understanding of how culture and language interact, and the relevant codes of ethics and professional standards in the legal domain.

While CSLIs may work in the same institutions as CIs, they are competent to interpret complex, highly specialised, expert-to-expert communication in those institutions. For example; sentencing remarks by a judge, expert witness statements or testimony, or presentation of legal arguments.

NAATI’s Certified Specialist Legal Interpreter test is an objective assessment of the skills and competencies needed to practice as a specialist interpreter in the legal domain in Australia.

Learn more about the different certification types.

Apply for Certification

To apply for certification, you need to register your email in our customer portal, myNAATI. After you have registered, you can make your application from the myNAATI portal.

You need to hold a Certified Interpreter credential to be eligible to sit the Certified Specialist Legal Interpreter Test.

There are five pathways for eligibility to sit the Certified Specialist Legal Interpreter Test. 

Our Certification System Overview document helps explain the pathways.

For spoken languages, the Certified Specialist Legal Interpreter Test involves five tasks:

1. One knowledge test with seven sections (total of 60 questions)

  • Section 1: Legal terminology and general legal knowledge
  • Section 2: Knowledge of legal systems and processes
  • Section 3: Ethics and law
  • Section 4: Culture and law
  • Section 5: The role of the interpreter in the legal context
  • Section 6: Advanced interactional management
  • Section 7: Research and preparation

2. One dialogic extracts task (consecutive mode)

3. One consecutive Interpreting – Monologue into LOTE task

4. One consecutive Interpreting – Monologue into English task

5. One simultaneous Interpreting – Monolingual exchange into LOTE task

Interpreting tasks will cover different legal domains, jurisdictions and types of courts.

CSLIs have advanced research skills that enable them to perform in complex and specialised interpreting situations. The ability to prepare for assignments in advance and to use appropriate available resources is one of the skills the CSLI Test assesses.

The knowledge test will ask questions about a broad range of legal domains and types of courts.

Briefs for each monologue task will be sent out one week before the test date to allow candidates to prepare. A Case Summary Sheet will be sent out 24 hours before the test (for the consecutive monologue into LOTE task). 

Make sure you read and become familiar with the Candidate Instructions. 

Knowledge Test

The different question types in the knowledge test are marked in different ways. Multiple choice, match, drag and drop questions are automatically marked by the testing system. Short answer, long answer and essay questions are marked by at least two examiners based upon detailed marking guidelines.

Candidates will receive overall scores for each section of the test, as well as a total score.

Interpreting tasks

The interpreting tasks will be marked using assessment rubrics applied by trained examiners.

Make sure you read and understand the following information before your test:

NAATI has developed a sample knowledge test and a series of example test tasks to help you prepare for the test.

You can access a sample knowledge test through the NAATI Learning Management System (LMS). This test uses the same platform as the Knowledge Test you will sit on your test date, and contains examples of the question types and knowledge tested in the CSLI Knowledge Test. This test is NOT the full length of the test and your score should not be taken as indicative of actual test performance. Please refer to the candidate information for more information regarding the knowledge test. To access the sample knowledge test, you will need to create a login, following the prompts. This login is your personal login and will not be used when you sit the Certification Test. If you are not automatically redirected to the sample test after signing in, click on “Home” and then the name of the sample test you wish to take.

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the LMS, the question types and the different sections of the test before your test date.

You can access sample interpreting tasks below.

The Dialogic Extracts example task is in both English and LOTE (Mandarin). The Mandarin segments are subtitled in English to give you an idea of what the task is like even if you do not speak Mandarin. The subtitles are not intended to be a unique correct interpretation, but to allow non-Mandarin-speaking candidates to understand the LOTE responses. Please consult the candidate information to learn more about how each test task will operate.

The other two example tasks are in English, so you have the opportunity of practising interpreting into your LOTE. The consecutive tasks are segmented by chimes to indicate when to interpret:  pause the task when you hear the chime, and play when you have finished interpreting.

These materials are © National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd 2019 and cannot be reproduced without the written permission of NAATI.

If you would like to sit the CSLI Test, please apply ASAP.

  • 16-20 December 2019: Korean, Japanese, Mandarin

The list of dates above is not exhaustive. Testing may only be available in some states, depending on demand.

Further dates will be published as they become available. NAATI reserves the right to amend test dates and languages up to eight weeks before the scheduled test date.

Click here to find out about certification prerequisites, and here to apply for a certification test.

Please note that NAATI must have assessed your application as 'eligible for testing' before you can be invited to one of these test sessions. Click here to learn more about how Certification Tests are scheduled.