Free Interpreting Service for non-government organisations
The Free Interpreting Service aims to provide equitable access to key services for people with limited or no English language proficiency.
Non-government organisations (NGOs) can access the Free Interpreting Service to provide approved casework and emergency services, where the organisation does not receive substantial government funding to provide these services.
Why should non-government organisations engage an interpreter?
Australia has rich cultural and linguistic diversity. The 2021 census revealed that over 5.5 million Australians speak a language other than English at home. Furthermore, Australians represent over 250 different ancestries and speak more than 350 languages.
Non-government organisations provide a range of casework and emergency services and can engage a credentialed interpreter to communicate with people who have limited or no English language proficiency. This is particularly important when communicating complex or technical information and can help to establish a relationship and communicate effectively with these clients.
Using the Free Interpreting Service is easy and convenient. It is quick and simple to register, and you will be connected to a phone interpreter within a few minutes of calling.
Services available to non-government organisations
Non-government organisations can use the Free Interpreting Service to access interpreting services delivered by TIS National, including:
- immediate phone interpreting
- Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS)
- pre-booked phone interpreting
- on-site interpreting
- video remote interpreting.
Non-government organisations are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service if they are:
- a not for profit, non-government and community based organisation
- delivering services to anyone in Australia who is eligible for Medicare
- providing approved casework or emergency services (see below)
- not receiving substantial government funding for the delivery of the service.
The Free Interpreting Service can be used for providing approved casework or emergency services that are essential to economic or social participation (provided they are not listed as an ineligible activity). This includes services that manage issues arising from health conditions, housing, employment, personal or family safety, and financial crisis. These services may include, but are not limited to:
- information, referral, support and advice for people with chronic disease, acute health conditions or a disability
- services that facilitate community engagement, including:
- referral services to third party agencies
- mentoring programs
- respite care.
- crisis intervention services, including for:
- domestic violence, homelessness, unemployment
- severe financial difficulties
- legal matters.
The Free Interpreting Service cannot be used by non-government organisations for:
- government funded services (organisations delivering government funded services should discuss access to interpreters with their government funding body)
- clinical medical services (see ‘private medical practitioners category’)
- recreational activities or programs
- political and media advocacy or lobbying
- vocational training
- immigration advice
- child care services.
Register for the Free Interpreting Service
To register for the Free Interpreting Service you will need to complete the NGO application for the Free Interpreting Service form located on the TIS National website.
Your application will be assessed for eligibility and you will be notified of the outcome. If access is approved, a Free Interpreting Service account will be set up for your use.
If you require assistance with your application or have any questions about the application process, please contact TIS National on 1300 575 847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Read: about the Free Interpreting Service: tisnational.gov.au/FIS
- Read: about how to access TIS National’s online booking system TIS Online
- Watch: videos about TIS National services and how to work with interpreters tisnational.gov.au/videos
- Order: free promotional materials from the online TIS National catalogue: tisnational.gov.au/promomaterials
- Contact: TIS National on 1300 575 847 or email@example.com
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