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CLA Testing

Community Language Aide (CLA) Testing is used by the public and private sectors to determine eligibility for language allowances. It is appropriate for anyone needing to communicate at a basic level in a Language other than English (LOTE) in the workplace.

An individual who has passed a CLA test is not qualified to act as an interpreter or translator. 

The CLA test assesses a person’s ability to perform certain routine customer service-related tasks in a Language other than English (LOTE) and it is suitable for anyone wanting to test this ability.

No, it is not at all like an interpreter test. People who wish to be an interpreter must meet very specific requirements before they are allowed to sit an interpreting test.

Interpreters require a much higher level of skill than that which is assessed in the CLA test. If you pass the CLA test, you are not qualified to act as a translator or interpreter.

Specifically, the CLA test assesses your ability to:

  • convey information accurately and clarify routine points if needed
  • adhere to the procedural norms expected in English language interactions (such as politeness and time-efficiency)
  • elicit information from customers
  • follow and understand speech from a native-speaker of a LOTE
  • seek clarification if such speech is not immediately understood
  • pronounce language accurately enough that speech is generally intelligible
  • produce language accurately enough that errors do not impede or impair communication

You need to have a vocabulary range that allows you to explain organisational procedures and related matters with some precision and clarity.

Currently, you can sit a CLA test in the following languages: 

  • Arabic
  • Assyrian
  • Bangla
  • Cantonese
  • Filipino
  • Greek
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Tongan
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

If you wish to be tested in a language not listed above, please email us at info@naati.com.au. We will let you know if we intend to test that language in the future.

No. Some organisations pay a language allowance to employees who use their LOTE speaker to provide customer service (e.g. some public service departments and agencies), if those employees can demonstrate they have the required language skills.

However, organisations that don’t pay an allowance can still pay for their employees to be tested. Similarly, individuals can apply to sit the test without being sponsored by their employer.

Generally, CLA test results are emailed to you within 4 weeks of you sitting the test.

We send the results to the person sitting the test. If your employer, or another third party, has paid for your test, we will send the results to them only if they request them.

This means that it is your responsibility to provide your result to your employer, or sponsor, if they have paid for your test or if you’re applying for a language allowance. 

Applications to sit a CLA Test must be submitted online via the NAATI website. You will need to attach a passport-style photograph and a scan of an appropriate identity document (e.g. a driver’s licence) to apply.

The cost of a CLA test is $385. NAATI will invoice you (or your sponsoring organisation if you have one) this test fee after you have submitted your application.  

CLA application form 》

Probably the easiest way to find out more about the test is do a practice test. Click the button below to download a pack containing

  • CLA practice material; and
  • A guide to the practice material

CLA practice materials 》

Test sessions are closed 21 days before they are held. This means you cannot reschedule a test session within 21 days of your selected test date.

You would need to withdraw your application and pay a cancellation fee, which will apply regardless of the reason, including illness.

If you withdraw your application and want to sit a CLA test in the future you will need to reapply by submitting an application online.

The following cancellation fees apply:

  • Full refund: Application withdrawn within 6 months of submitting it and there is more than 21 days before your test date.
  • 25% of test fee: Application withdrawn after 6 months of submitting your application and there is more than 21 days before your test date.
  • 50% of test fee: Application withdrawn within 21 days (or less) of your test date.
  • 100% of test fee: No attendance at selected test date without providing written notice to NAATI (to info@naati.com.au) at least 1 business day prior to the test.

CLA test policies 》

Click here for our FAQ page.

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