NAATI’s Certification System is designed to evaluate whether an individual is competent to practise as an interpreter. It does this by setting minimum standards of performance across a number of areas of competency. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet these standards are awarded NAATI certification. This gives assurance to both the users and the interpreting service provider that the interpreter has the necessary competencies to carry out the interpreting task.

NAATI’s system consists of the following two categories:

Certified includes Certified Provisional Interpreter, Certified Interpreter, Certified Specialist Interpreter (available for Health and Legal) and Certified Conference Interpreter. These certifications are typically available between English and a Language Other Than English (LOTE) for which NAATI assesses all significant competencies directly and objectively. Commensurate with the level of certification, interpreters work in certain typical domains, situations and interpreting modes.

Recognised Practising is available between English and a LOTE for which NAATI currently does not offer certification testing, e.g. for emerging or low demand languages. NAATI directly assesses Language Competency (English or Auslan), Intercultural Competency and Ethical Competency, but is only able to indirectly confirm other competencies through evidence of work experience. In the absence of interpreters with certification for a language, Recognised Practising Interpreters may be asked to interpret in the same domains, situations and interpreting modes as certified interpreters.

The Descriptors for Interpreting outlined below have been developed for the purpose of NAATI Certification. They outline the expected minimum standard of performance interpreters display across the competencies required for professional practice, while taking into account the characteristics of interpreters’ work environments.

The descriptors assist potential candidates for certification and users of interpreting services to gain a general understanding of expected interpreter competencies. The descriptors are not intended to reflect the complexity of the Certification System.


Certified Conference Interpreter
Transfer Competency

Transfers highly complex, specialised messages from a source language into a target language using spoken or signed language that accurately reflects the meaning.

Language Competency

Comprehends and produces two languages (spoken or signed, and written) in specialised domains, appropriately using specialised and complex language including technical expressions and jargon.

Intercultural Competency

Understands in detail how culture and language interact in specialised contexts, identifies all significant and nuanced culturally- specific information in spoken or signed language, is able to apply this to the interpreting task and account for its use.

Thematic Competency

Knows about and understands a broad range of complex and specialised contexts, topics and current events at an advanced level, i.e. at the level of experts speaking or signing to an expert audience.

Ethical Competency

Has full and detailed knowledge and understanding of the relevant code of Ethics, and is able to apply this to situations in interpreting practice, client interactions and other professional activities.

Research Competency

Can use a variety of tools and methods to search for information, including highly specialist resources in a variety of domains, and is able to extract and manage specialised and complex information from research and apply it to the interpreting process.

Service Provision Competency

Operates in the interpreting industry and manages interactions with clients and other interpreters to provide services.

Technological Competency

Knows and is able to use technology required for conference interpreting, including interpreting from a booth.

Typical Domains & Situation Types

Speeches and presentations at high- level international exchanges, such as international conferences, summits, meetings and negotiations (e.g. UN summits, NAATI meetings, bilateral treaty negotiations). For signed languages this may include national conferences, summits, meetings and negotiations (e.g. Commonwealth government conferences).

Typical domains include legal, technology, science, health, commerce, economy, diplomacy, politics.

Typical Interpreting Modes

Spoken Language
– Simultaneous (booth)
– Consecutive (monologue)

Signed Languages
– Simultaneous (monologue)
– Consecutive (monologue)


Certified Specialist Interpreter (Health & Legal)
Transfer Competency

Transfers complex, specialised messages in the health or legal domain from a source language into a target language using spoken or signed language that accurately reflects the meaning.

Language Competency

Comprehends and produces two languages (spoken or signed), appropriately using specialised and complex language, including technical expressions and jargon from across the health or legal domain.

Intercultural Competency

Understands in detail how culture and language interact in the health or legal domain, identifies significant and nuanced culturally-specific information in spoken or signed language, and is able to apply this to the interpreting task and account for its use.

Thematic Competency

Knows about and understands complex, specialised health or legal contexts, topics and relevant current events in the field at an advanced level, and is able to interpret for a specialist audience.

Ethical Competency

Has full and detailed knowledge and understanding of the relevant codes of Ethics, and clinical guidelines/professional standards and is able to apply this to situations in interpreting practice, client interactions and other professional activities

Research Competency

Health
Can use a variety of tools and methods to search for information, including highly specialised resources in the health domain, and is able to extract and manage specialised and complex information from research and apply it to the interpreting process.

Legal
Can use a variety of tools and methods to search for information, including highly specialised resources in the legal domain, and is able to extract and manage specialised and complex information from research and apply it to the interpreting process.

Service Provision Competency

Health
Operates as an integral member of the healthcare team and manages interactions with clients to provide services in order to ensure access to services and facilitate positive health outcomes.

Legal
Operates as an integral member of the court and manages interactions with clients to provide services in order to ensure access to services and facilitate positive justice outcomes.

Technological Competency

Knows and is able to use technology required for interpreting processes in the health or legal domain, including telephone interpreting, video and onscreen interpreting.

Typical Domains & Situation Types

Health
Dialogues and presentations between and aimed at experts in the health field (e.g. medical handover between LOTE and English speaking specialists; chuchotage of a conversation between two specialists in a hospital context; presentation of specialist medical equipment by an international company) or speech samples requiring specialist interpreting (e.g. speech pathology consultations; mental health consultations).

Sub-domains can include geriatrics, obstetrics, anaesthesiology, surgery, gynaecology, ophthalmology, paediatrics, anaesthesiology, mental health, oncology, paediatrics, psychiatry, radiology, orthopaedics, urology, occupational therapy.

Legal
Dialogues and presentations between and aimed at experts in the legal field, in different legal jurisdictions (e.g. NSW, VIC, Federal) and different levels of the legal system (local, state and federal; courts and tribunals) (e.g. expert witness testimony; judges’ judgement; colloquy between judge and lawyer during court proceedings; discussions between legal experts).

Sub-domains can include criminal and civil court cases, including contract, commercial, consumer, family, refugee and immigration, personal injury, worker’s compensation, insurance, real estate law etc.

Typical Interpreting Modes

Spoken Languages
– Simultaneous (chuchotage)
– Consecutive (monologue)

Signed Langauges
– TBA


Certified Interpreter
Transfer Competency

Transfers complex, non- specialised messages from a source language into a target language using spoken or signed language that accurately reflects the meaning.

Language Competency

Comprehends and produces two languages (spoken or signed, and written) in a variety of complex situations/contexts, appropriately using complex, but non- specialised language and commonly and uncommonly used expressions.

Intercultural Competency

Understands how culture and language interact, identifies significant and nuanced culturally-specific information in spoken or signed language, and is able to apply this to the interpreting task.

Thematic Competency

Knows about and understands a broad range of complex but non-specialised contexts, topics and current events, including where specialists in a domain speak or sign with a non-specialist audience.

Ethical Competency

Has full and detailed knowledge and understanding of the relevant code of Ethics, and is able to apply this to situations in interpreting practice, client interactions and other professional activities.

Research Competency

Can use a variety of tools and methods to search for information, including some specialist resources, and is able to extract and manage complex information from research and apply it to the interpreting process.

Service Provision Competency

Operates in the interpreting industry and manages interactions with clients to provide services.

Technological Competency

Knows and is able to use technology required for interpreting processes, including telephone interpreting, video and onscreen interpreting.

Typical Domains & Situation Types

All situations in which a Certified Provisional Interpreter interprets, and dialogues, speeches and presentations in community interpreting settings including health (e.g. a clinician-patient consultation at a medical centre), legal (e.g. a client seeking a solicitor’s advice), community (e.g. a speech at a community council meeting), immigration/ settlement (e.g. visa issues at an airport), education (e.g. during school lessons), social services (e.g. discussion about alleged welfare fraud), financial (e.g. a client applying for a loan), housing (e.g. dispute at a tenancy tribunal), business (e.g. at a business meeting), employment (e.g. dispute about breach of employment contract), insurance (e.g. making an insurance claim), consumer affairs (e.g. enquiry about consumer rights).

Typical Interpreting Modes

Spoken Languages
– Consecutive (Dialogue)
– Sight Translation
– Simultaneous (Monologue)
– Consecutive (Monologue)

Signed Languages
– Consecutive (Dialogue)
– Simultaneous (Dialogue)
– Sight Translation
– Simultaneous (Monologue)


Certified Provisional Interpreter
Transfer Competency

Transfers non-complex, non-specialised messages from a source language into a target language using spoken or signed language that accurately reflects the meaning.

Language Competency

Comprehends and produces two languages (spoken or signed) in a variety of non-complex situations/contexts, appropriately using non- complex and non- specialised language and commonly used expressions.

Intercultural Competency

Understands how culture and language interact, identifies significant culturally- specific information in spoken or signed language, and is able to apply this to the interpreting task.

Thematic Competency

Knows about and understands a broad range of non-complex, non-specialised contexts, topics and current events, including where specialists in a domain speak or sign with a non-specialist audience.

Ethical Competency

Has full and detailed knowledge and understanding of the relevant code of Ethics, and is able to apply this to situations in interpreting practice, client interactions and other professional activities.

Research Competency

Can use some tools and methods to search for information and is able to extract and manage non-complex, non- specialised information from research and apply it to the interpreting process.

Service Provision Competency

Operates in the interpreting industry and manages interactions with clients to provide services.

Technological Competency

Knows and is able to use basic technology required for interpreting processes, i.e. telephone interpreting.

Typical Domain & Situation Types

Dialogues in community interpreting settings including health (e.g. a general medical consultation), legal (e.g. a witness describing an accident to a police officer), community (e.g. registering a car at a government service desk), immigration/settlement (e.g. enquiry about government services for new immigrants), education (e.g. a teacher-parent interview at a school), social services (e.g. enquiry about parental payments at a government office), financial (e.g. opening a bank account), housing (e.g. a request for repair work), business (e.g. customer purchasing a car), employment (e.g. enquiry about jobs at an employment agency), insurance (e.g. enquiry about car insurance with an insurance provider), consumer affairs (e.g. complaint about a product).

Typical Interpreting Modes

Spoken Languages
– Consecutive (Dialogue)

Signed Languages
– Simultaneous (Dialogue)
– Simultaneous (Monologue)


Recognised Practising Interpreter
Transfer Competency

This competency is indirectly confirmed.

Language Competency

Comprehends and produces spoken English or Auslan (for deaf interpreters) in a variety of non-complex situations/ contexts, appropriately using non- complex and non- specialised language and commonly used expressions. LOTE proficiency is indirectly confirmed.

Intercultural Competency

Understands how culture and language interact, identifies significant culturally- specific information in spoken or signed language, and is able to apply this to the interpreting task.

Thematic Competency

This competency is indirectly confirmed.

Ethical Competency

Has full and detailed knowledge and understanding of the relevant code of Ethics, and is able to apply this to situations in interpreting practice, client interactions and other professional activities.

Research Competency

This competency is indirectly confirmed.

Service Provision Competency

Operates in the interpreting industry and manages interactions with clients to provide services.

Technological Competency

This competency is indirectly confirmed.

Typical Domains & Situation Types

In the absence of interpreter certification for a language, Recognised Practising Interpreters may be asked to interpret in the same types of situations as certified interpreters.

Typical Interpreting Modes

In the absence of interpreter certification for a language, Recognised Practising Interpreters may be asked to interpret in the same modes as certified interpreters.