Are you bilingual in English and Language? Do you want to help people communicate and do formal interpreting work?
Interpreting is a long-term career opportunity for speakers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages. Certified interpreters are often employed by professionals in the legal, health, arts and government sectors to communicate effectively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Across Australia, there is more work than there are interpreters, although this varies depending on location and languages spoken.
NAATI currently offers interpreter certification testing for Indigenous languages at the Certified Provisional Interpreter (CPI) level.
Knowing an interpreter is NAATI-certified assures professionals and clients that the interpreting will be to a high standard.
Dom Barry, CPI Pitjantjatjara certified interpreter talking about how he got his NAATI certification.
How can I become certified?
Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)
Interpreters aspiring for NAATI certification should fill out the NAATI CPI Indigenous Language Expression of Interest (EOI) form.
NAATI will look at two main things and then talk to each interpreter about the best way to achieve NAATI certification:
Interpreters need strong listening and speaking skills in English and Language to interpret accurately and quickly in different settings with different speakers.
NAATI’s minimum level of English and Language for CPI is a ‘confident speaker’. This means you can interact easily and fluently with native speakers on a range of topics, including abstract ideas. A native speaker would not slow down or change the way they speak for you. This is a higher level than ‘conversational’.
NAATI needs to see evidence of English proficiency before candidates sit any test. NAATI accepts evidence of English proficiency such as certificates and transcripts from finishing year 12, university or English proficiency test results equivalent to CEFR B2 or ISLPR level 3.
NAATI needs to see evidence of a candidate’s interpreter training before they sit any test. This training should have covered the role of the interpreter and code of ethics, how to achieve ‘accurate’ meaning-based interpreting, techniques for consecutive interpreting, how to prepare for jobs and handle difficult situations on the job.
For international and sign languages NAATI requires CPI candidates to have, at a minimum, a preparation course of 40 hours covering 4 AQF interpreting units. This interpreting skillset is likely to become more and more accessible in Indigenous languages.
Given accredited training is currently difficult to access for Indigenous languages, NAATI can accept unaccredited interpreter training, such as what is completed with your employer, or NAATI, to meet the training prerequisite. Please note that this may not be sufficient preparation for some candidates to build the skills necessary to pass certification testing.
Complete remaining prerequisites
NAATI offers online prerequisite courses every 3 months for people wanting to gain NAATI certification
Demonstrating ethical competency is a prerequisite that interpreters must meet before sitting a NAATI certification test.
Ethical competency is the knowledge and understanding of the AUSIT Code of Ethics required by interpreters to apply the code to situations in professional practice, client interactions and other professional activities.
Interpreters who have not completed ethical competency training as part of accredited interpreter training can complete an online Ethical Competency course and assessment with NAATI. NAATI offers these courses every three months. The course is run over 3 x 2.5-hour sessions followed by a test that takes about 30 minutes.
Demonstrating intercultural competency is a prerequisite that interpreters must meet before sitting a NAATI certification test.
Intercultural competency is the knowledge and skill required by interpreters to interpret culturally specific information between languages appropriately and accurately, and manage situations where there are cross-cultural challenges.
Interpreters who have not completed intercultural competency training as part of accredited interpreter training can complete an Intercultural Competency online course and assessment with NAATI. NAATI offers these courses every three months. The course is run over 3 x 2.5-hour sessions followed by a test that takes about 30 minutes.
Candidates who would like to sit the NAATI Certified Provisional Interpreter (CPI) test must do some preparation training before they come to a testing workshop. This will give candidates clear expectations about the test and the best chance at passing the test.
This course is designed to prepare participants to sit the CPI test by building their understanding of the format of the test and the key skills that are assessed. NAATI offers these courses every three months. The course is 6 x 1.5hr sessions over 2 weeks. Alternatively, there are video tutorials available on YouTube that match the course content.
NAATI runs in-person CPI test workshops where candidates do some final preparation training, a practice test with role-players and sit the test.
The CPI test consists of three live role-plays (two face-to-face and one over the phone). Candidates must pass all three role-plays to pass the test. If candidates pass two out of three, candidates can sit one supplementary role-play next time testing is available.
Attend a face-to-face NAATI testing workshop
When candidates have met the prerequisites and are ready to sit their CPI test, candidates or their supporting agencies can request that NAATI run a face-to-face workshop to deliver the test. The workshop includes final preparation training, a practice test with role-players and the CPI test.
All applicants are required to read the candidate instructions in full before the test. They detail the steps you need to take before your test day, what happens on test day, and how to get support.
NAATI has developed a test preparation module to help you get ready for your test and familiarise yourself with the format. The module is available through NAATI Learn and anyone can access it for free.
The module provides you with:
- Access to the NAATI testing platform
- Practice materials in 8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
To access the preparation module, click here. You don’t need to create an account. Just select the CPI Preparation Module from the dashboard.
These materials are © National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (2023) and cannot be reproduced without the written permission of NAATI.
Recertify every three years
Recertification is the process by which translators and interpreters with NAATI credentials demonstrate that they remain active and committed to the translation and interpreting industry.
To maintain NAATI certification, certified interpreters need to provide evidence every three years of ongoing work practice and professional development (across the categories of Skills and Knowledge, Industry Engagement and Language Maintenance). NAATI outlines the recertification requirements here.
Check the Indigenous Interpreting Project’s training calendar for upcoming training courses.
If you need help at any time, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download the Indigenous Languages CPI Information Sheet as a PDF or view the answers to some of our frequently asked questions (FAQs).
View practice materials for the CPI test on our NAATI Learn platform