On-site interpreting

The on-site interpreting service is available for agency clients to book an interpreter to attend an appointment face-to-face. There is a minimum booking time of 90 minutes, and all requests can be submitted through our online booking tool TIS Online.

On-site interpreting

About on-site interpreting
Booking an on-site interpreter

About on-site interpreting

When using a phone or video remote interpreter would not be suitable, TIS National can arrange for an interpreter to visit your location. On-site interpreting services can be arranged for any location in Australia (subject to interpreter availability).

An on-site interpreter may be most appropriate when:

  • the appointment is of a sensitive or serious nature
  • you anticipate that the appointment will go for an extended period of time
  • there will be more than two parties present requiring interpreting

You can estimate the cost of your booking using our cost calculator.

Booking an on-site interpreter

You can easily request and manage all of your on-site interpreter bookings through TIS Online. Using TIS Online allows us to secure an interpreter for your request in the shortest possible timeframe. Bookings can be submitted up to 90 calendar days in advance, for a minimum of 90 minutes. To use TIS Online you need to register an account with TIS National. All agencies registered with a TIS National account are automatically registered to use TIS Online. Find out more about TIS Online or visit the TIS Online login page to get started.

TIS National will notify you once an interpreter has been allocated to your request.

If you need to update the appointment details after you have submitted your request, you can do this easily through your TIS Online account if there is more than 24 hours to the requested start time. Please note, some details may not be able to be adjusted through the portal. For these adjustments, please contact the Service Delivery team.

I'm having difficulty securing an on-site interpreter. What can I do?

If TIS National has not been able to find an on-site interpreter for your request, the following tips may help.

Check the requested credential level

On your original request you may have asked us to only consider interpreters with a Certified Interpreter credential from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). It may be helpful to re-assess whether it is crucial that you only use an interpreter with this credential, as considering using a lower or nil-credentialed interpreter can significantly improve your chances of securing an interpreter. TIS National’s procedure when filling requests is to always allocate the highest credentialed available interpreter first. Also note, NAATI certification is not available in all languages. We will be unable to fill your request in these languages if you have requested we only consider certified interpreters. 

See if your client speaks any other languages

Does your client speak more than one language other than English? If they do, it may improve your chances of securing an interpreter if you request an interpreter in another language they speak. This increases the pool of interpreters we can contact and therefore the likelihood of an interpreter being available.

Send your request in advance

Sending your request approximately two weeks before the scheduled appointment time will generally give you the greatest chance of securing an interpreter. This will increase the pool of interpreters who are available to accept the assignment as they haven’t already made prior commitments. While TIS National can accept on-site booking requests up to 90 days in advance of an appointment, these requests can be difficult to fill as many of our interpreters will not be able to commit to a booking so far in advance. When TIS National receives an urgent job request (i.e. within three business days of the requested time) it will be processed within 24 to 48 hours. Booking requests for an interpreter for the same day the request is submitted are actioned immediately. However, it is important to note that in these cases the pool of interpreters available to accept the request will be somewhat limited, as it is likely our interpreters will have already accepted other bookings at that time.

Schedule your appointments together

If you need an interpreter in a particular language for more than one of your clients, try to schedule your appointments with them on the same day. By scheduling the appointments together, you can book a single interpreter for a longer period of time and use them for multiple client appointments.

Use a video remote or phone interpreter instead

If you have been notified that we can’t provide an on-site interpreter for your booking, consider if it would be possible to use a video remote, pre-booked or immediate phone interpreter. Using a video remote or phone interpreter allows us to draw from a pool of interpreters across Australia, rather than only considering interpreters based in your location. Using a video remote or phone interpreter also can provide a greater level of privacy for your client, particularly when your client may know the only suitable on-site interpreter personally.