A connected community without language barriers

Research is Fundamental to NAATI’s Work

Back in 2011 NAATI commissioned research – led by Professor Sandra Hale – that produced the Improvements to NAATI Testing report. Subsequently, recommendations from this report formed the basis of the certification system that commenced in January 2018.

The report was the start of our journey to raise the standards for certification, and therefore testing, for people who wanted to become translators and interpreters in Australia. Ultimately, providing quality assurance and a better experience for those people using the services of T&I professionals.

The certification system places greater emphasis on practitioners continuing their education, training, and ongoing professional development.  Practitioners are required to recertify every three years which provides greater confidence to users of translating and interpreting services.

In NAATI’s Strategic Plan, two of the pillars are to:

  • drive innovation and quality in Certification, and
  • support the development and sustainability of the translating and interpreting profession. 


Professional development (PD) for practitioners is a key part of these objectives, and so NAATI funded Monash University (from NAATI’s Research Fund) to identify gaps in PD opportunities for translators and interpreters in Australia.

The University conducted an online nationwide survey of practitioners between October and December 2019, gaining responses from more than 3200 survey respondents. The report identified that cost and time to attend PD courses was a barrier, especially for people working as part-time translators or interpreters.  Other key themes included the need for:

  • better communication of availability of PD opportunities through a central platform
  • development of training for translators and interpreters in regional areas across Australia, and training opportunities beyond NSW and Victoria
  • more advanced specialist training to cater for a variety of practitioner levels
  • development of more translation-focused PD courses, and
  • more PD in health and legal topics as well as interpreter self-care.


The full report can be found at HERE

Following the release of the report, NAATI has continued to work with industry professional associations and other key stakeholders to address these key themes. We have also undertaken a number of actions to support the profession in accessing PD opportunities to fulfill their recertification requirements.

This work includes advertising PD opportunities via our website and through NAATI News, and monitoring recertification applications to identify new PD opportunities or update the PD catalogue on our website.

We have partnered with professional associations, universities, state/territory governments, and other organisations to fund specific industry projects under our Research Fund and Industry Development Fund.

One such project, through the Industry Development Fund, was for Monash University to develop and deliver a program of three short courses for interpreters working in family violence situations. This training was a one-day face to face course delivered in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth in February 2020. A total of 54 people completed the course, with participants working as interpreters in 27 different languages.

The delivery of the course was recognition of limited training being offered in those states for interpreters working in family violence settings, and to meet local needs.

Another project funded under NAATI’s Industry Development Fund, was for the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association to provide capacity building through education to the Auslan<>English interpreting and deaf community.  This project culminated in the development of a series of short video clips on various topics ranging from Ethics to safety guidelines such as vicarious trauma and occupational overuse syndrome.  The educational videos can be found at this LINK

Targeted research continues to be an essential part of NAATI’s ongoing work to develop high standards within the T&I industry, and to ensure we keep abreast of new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

We will use this blog and our publication, NAATI News, to keep you informed of ongoing research and developments in our industry.

This post was provided by NAATI CEO, Mark Painting.

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