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The Certification System

NAATI’s Certification System has been designed to evaluate if a candidate demonstrates the skills needed to practice as a translator or interpreter in Australia. NAATI Certification gives assurance to people who engage interpreters or translators, that English and non-English speakers can interact effectively with each other. NAATI Certification came into effect on 1 January 2018. 

NAATI works with industry professionals to set the minimum standards of performance across a number of areas of competency. A Certification test assesses candidates against these standards. Candidates who demonstrate that they meet these standards are awarded NAATI Certification. 

Certification places more emphasis on education, training, and ongoing professional development than the pre-2018 model of accreditation. There are several pathways to gain a NAATI Certification or Recognised Practising credential. Applicants need to show they meet the requirements for each certification type before they are approved to sit a NAATI test. These requirements are known as Certification prerequisites.

NAATI certification permits translators and interpreters to quickly and easily demonstrate to clients and agencies their ability.

Many employers and service providers will expect practitioners to have certification – it is difficult to get translating and interpreting work without it.

The NAATI Certification System has been designed after considering the knowledge, skills and attributes identified as necessary for professional practice. It is made up of three components:

  1. Satisfying the prerequisites: these are the criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for the certification test.
  2. Passing the certification test: this is a performance-based test of your translation or interpreting skills. If you are successful in passing this test, you will be awarded certification.
  3. Satisfying the recertification requirements: Once you have been awarded certification, you will be required to meet certain criteria every three years in order to retain it. If you cannot meet these requirements, your certification will expire.

Details about each of these components can be found in the Certification System Overview

There are many different types of NAATI Certification. Click here to see a model that identifies the types and interrelationships between credentials.

You should think carefully about the type of certification you will need.

To help with this, NAATI has developed descriptors for all NAATI credentials. These descriptors provide a general understanding of the competencies associated with each certification type.

They also describe the types of work that someone holding a certain certification type can be expected to do.

As noted earlier on this page, the NAATI certification system has been designed after considering the knowledge, skills and attributes (KSAs) identified as necessary for professional practice.

The KSAs are essential to ensuring the validity of NAATI’s certification system and are set out in detail across two discussion papers.

Once you’ve worked out what type of certification you need, you’ll need to:

  1. Work out what eligibility pathway you will use to apply to NAATI.
  2. Ensure you meet the prerequisite requirements to be eligible for your selected certification.
  3. Apply to sit, and pass your NAATI test.
  4. Recertify every three years to maintain your credential.

Pathways to Certification are available in the Certification Summary Overview.

Click here for our FAQ page.

Still have questions or are unsure? Email info@naati.com.au.