As part of our work during the Improvements to NAATI Testing (INT) Project, we identified the ongoing need for NAATI to invest in industry research. A small annual research fund now exists to promote relevant translating and interpreting research. 

The aim of the NAATI Research Fund is to broaden the scope of industry research projects and collaborations. 

What are the research priorities?

NAATI considers research priorities on an annual basis. The priorities for the 2021-2022 financial year are as follows:

Certification System Quality and Scope

  • Validation of English language proficiency prerequisites: analysis of relationship between language proficiency level and translating and interpreting (T&I) test results.
  • Validation of test specifications: analysis of relationship between test results and professional competency.
  • Reliability of live role-player test delivery.
  • Inter-rater reliability (i.e. consistency of test scores across two or more raters).
  • Analysis of the relationship between examiners’ demographic characteristics and assessment performance.
  • Options for providing valid and reliable translating and interpreting skills testing opportunities for new and emerging languages.

Endorsed Qualifications 

  • Best practice in translating and interpreting specialisation education.
  • Relationships between training/qualification type, duration, intake demographics and English and LOTE language proficiency and certification outcomes.

Translating & Interpreting Practice

  • Practitioner retention rates, demographics and strategies (i.e. why certified practitioners are retained or lost to the profession?).
  • Best practice management of vicarious trauma for T&I practitioners.
  • Identification of current gaps in professional development opportunities for translators and interpreters in Australia.
  • Analysis of AUSIT code of ethics in context of recent theories and practices, and its implications to validity and reliability of NAATI’s assessment tool for ethical competencies.

Broader Industry 

  • Identification of priority languages to meet emerging demand within translating and interpreting sector (including regional variations).
  • Cost-benefit analysis of engaging appropriately credentialed practitioners or failing to do so in particular sectors (e.g. health, legal, immigration).
  • Efficient and effective methods for user education on the NAATI Certification System.
  • Effectiveness of certification in improving standards in the industry.

Current and completed projects

The Communicate Study – Transforming healthcare experience in northern Australia

Menzies School of Health Research

In progress.
Click here to view the project website.

This National Health and Medical Research Council Partnership Project will improve intercultural communication between Indigenous patients and healthcare providers in northern Australia, by increasing utilisation of Aboriginal interpreters in hospitals; improving the recruitment, retention and experience of interpreters and improving patient experience, health literacy and outcomes.

Deafblind communication and interpreting: Building professional competencies

Monash University

In progress.
Click here to view the project website.

This Australian Research Council Linkage Project will inform recommendations for developing training resources for deafblind interpreters and provide a foundation for skill set descriptions that could underpin a deafblind interpreting credential.

Judicial Officers’ communication strategies when working with court interpreters: Implications for access to justice

University of NSW

In progress.
Click here to view the project website.

This Australian Research Council Linkage Project aims to improve access to justice in criminal courts by producing evidence-based guidelines for judicial officers.


Identification of current gaps in professional development opportunities for translators and interpreters in Australia

Monash University

Completed 2020-2021.
Click here to view the report.

To identify current gaps in professional development opportunities for translators and interpreters in Australia and provide recommendations to improve awareness, availability and access to PD events.

Translation of official documents: Ensuring quality and enhancing security

Western Sydney University

Completed 2021-2022.
Click here to view the publication.

To explore the views of translators, language services and end users about quality and integrity in the translation of personal documents and propose guidelines for this area of translation practice.

Effective public messaging in online communication for all Australians

Macquarie University

Completed 2021-2022.
Click here to view the report.

To investigate accessibility, readability and translation of Australian public health messaging for second-language readers.


What do I need to know?

NAATI encourages collaborative funding involving other funding sources (such as ARC linkage grants). We understand that external funding options have varying submission dates and application processes and requirements.

Applications for research funding can be made at any time (via a registration of interest process) using the below application form. Applications will be considered within four weeks for eligibility, before being referred to the Technical Reference Advisory Committee for review.

Applications which pass this initial assessment will be considered by the NAATI Board (via the CEO). Consideration of applications can take up to 12 weeks.