A connected community without language barriers

The Year That Was

As 2020 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to thank all of our stakeholders, practitioners, role-players, and everyone else that has helped NAATI in 2020 with our vision of a ‘connected community without language barriers.’

This year has been a tough one, both in Australia and internationally. From the devastating bushfires at the start of the year to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, we have all endured 12 months of personal and work challenges.

Closing our physical offices in March meant everyone had to quickly adapt to a new way of working and living. Our colleagues in Melbourne had the worst of it, with an extended lock-down brought about by a second wave of the pandemic.

As the head of an organisation that has people at is focal point, I was grateful to be part of team that has shown resilience, commitment, and continued enthusiasm in the most difficult of times.

NAATI’s experience has been no different to that of others, and we have done our utmost to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on our staff, work practices, and customers.

Yet, along with the significant challenges, there have been solid gains as a direct result of understanding the changed operating environment and the implications of keeping people isolated.

Most significantly, during this period, has been completing the move to a certification-based system – giving the industry more rigour, clearer pathways for practitioners and, greater opportunities in the profession. It has also given consumers of T&I services greater confidence in the skills of certified practitioners.

Additional highlights of 2020 include:

  • Improved support for our stakeholders and customers through the opening of a new state-of-the-art premises in both Melbourne and Perth, and the launch of a new website
  • With face-to-face testing postponed due to COVID-19, we quickly developed online solutions for testing and workshops, and
  • Our NCMS (credentialing management system) underwent a number of improvements to provide a better user experience for people inside and outside of NAATI

When face-to-face certification testing was stopped during lock-down we responded quickly to reschedule testing, so candidates did not miss the opportunity to be certified. We also reduced the cost and professional development requirements of re-certification, to support existing certified practitioners and to reduce their financial commitments. Our investment in the T&I sector continued throughout lockdown.

We continued to develop test materials, train examiner panels, respond efficiently to the increased level of queries, and developed new ways of testing so that we could quickly return to business-as-usual as soon as we were allowed. It was a stellar effort in difficult times.

And in September we launched our online Certified Translator test platform, which allowed candidates for the first time to take tests anywhere in the world. Since then we have conducted more than 500 tests on the platform. It is a remarkable achievement in a remarkable year.

Whilst Australia continues to successfully battle COVID-19, spare a thought for the rest of the world. Many of us come from migrant backgrounds, with family and friends across the globe. 2021 will continue to be a challenging year for them, and for us.

Take care during the Festive Season, and I look forward to working with you in the New Year.

This post, the last for 2020 in The NAATI Journal, was written by Mark Painting, NAATI’s Chief Executive Officer

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