Translator or interpreter?

Translators deal with the written word. They translate written documents from one language to another.

Interpreters deal with the spoken word or signed languages (such as Auslan). They interpret what each speaker is saying or signing into the other person’s language.

I need to get my document translated. Can you do it?

No. NAATI does not provide translation or interpreting services.

We are an accreditation authority – that is, we ‘licence’ people who wish to work as translators or interpreters. Once certified, each translator or interpreter works for themselves (or an agency or some other organisation).

We have an online directory of all practitioners that hold NAATI certification, which you can access from the NAATI homepage. You can use this to find practitioners who can help you.

Why won’t some government agencies accept non-NAATI issued stamps?

Each government agency sets its own requirements, and NAATI is unable to comment on this. We encourage practitioners to contact agencies directly to check requirements for acceptable translations.

How do I become a translator or interpreter?

Before you can apply to sit a certification test with NAATI, you need to have completed formal training in translation and/or interpreting. The steps you need to follow to become certified are clearly outlined here.

Certified or Recognised Practising?

A Recognised Practising credential is granted in languages in which NAATI is unable to deliver certification testing. A practitioner who holds a Recognised Practising credential has satisfied the minimum training requirements stipulated by NAATI and has recent and regular experience as a translator and/or interpreter. Recognised Practising credentials do not have equal status with certification, nor do they stipulate a specific level of transfer competency.

How much work will I get as a translator or interpreter?

This depends on a number of factors, such as the demand for the particular language, your certification type and your skill.

Some language communities may be quite small, so there may not be much work. In others, a large number of certified practitioners may already exist, which may mean greater competition and fewer opportunities.

The only way to find out if there’s demand for a particular language and, if so, at what certification type, is to do your research. For example, you could contact translating and interpreting agencies, or organisations that employ interpreters or translators.

How much will I earn as a translator or interpreter?

This will depend on many things, such as the demand for the particular language, and your skills and experience. For some languages, there may not be much work.

If you are able to find full-time work, the Open Universities Career Guide indicates a salary range for translators and interpreters of between $36,000 and $75,000, with an average salary of $55,000.

If you run your own business, you will need to decide how much you wish to charge. You can get an idea of appropriate rates by doing a web search – some agencies publish their rates online.

Why can’t NAATI influence the remuneration of translator and interpreters?

NAATI is aware of concerns over remuneration rates within the translating and interpreting sector. While we are happy to advocate for practitioners and support any initiative that aims to improve the pay conditions generally, we have no direct influence in determining remuneration rates.