History of TIS National

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) has a long history of providing language services in Australia.

Commonwealth translating services began in 1947 as a result of the post-World War II migration program. As new migrants settled in Australia the need for language services emerged. In response, the Red Cross and the Commonwealth government began performing translation functions to fill this need.

These services were consolidated into the Commonwealth government language services in December 1958 when the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (known then as the Department of Immigration), took responsibility for these functions. Today this service is known as TIS National.

Important dates for TIS National

  • 1947: the Commonwealth translating service began.

  • 1958: the Department of Immigration assumed responsibility for translating functions.

  • 1973: the department established a free Emergency Telephone Interpreting Service to assist non-English speakers.

  • 1991: the Telephone Interpreting Service and the government led translations unit were combined and renamed as the Translating and Interpreting Service. 

  • 1998: the Translating and Interpreting Service was consolidated from nine sites around Australia to three operational sites in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

  • 2002: the Translating and Interpreting Service was consolidated to one site in Melbourne and re-named as the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National).

  • 2013: The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) was re-named to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

  • 2015: The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service becomes one new Department on 1 July 2015.