Frequently Asked Questions for interpreters

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) has produced some Frequently Asked Questions designed to answer some common questions for current and potential interpreters.

If you cannot find what you are looking for on our website, please contact us and a TIS National staff member will help with your enquiry.

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Information for current TIS National interpreters+Expand content

How can I be offered non-metro and Illegal Maritime Arrival work?

The TIS National Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) team maintain a list of interpreters available for non-metro and IMA work. If you indicated during your induction that you are interested in accepting these assignments, you will be added to this list.

Non-metro and IMA work offers depend on requests received from our clients and priority is given to the highest accredited available interpreter.

How do I cancel an assignment which I can now no longer complete?

You should only accept assignments you can commit to completing and only cancel an assignment for urgent matters. If you are no longer available to complete an assignment you have accepted, contact TIS National immediately.

If you need to cancel a pre-booked telephone assignment, contact the Pre-booked telephone interpreting team.

If you need to cancel an on-site assignment, contact the Channel Support team.

Alternatively you can contact your Interpreter liaison officer.

How do I confirm a phone interpreting assignment?

You do not need to confirm phone interpreting assignments. Phone interpreting assignments are automatically confirmed in TIS National’s systems.

A TIS National operator may call you to confirm an end time of an assignment where our system was unable to capture this information.

How do I confirm an on-site interpreting assignment?

Interpreters are required to confirm each interpreting assignment in their TIS Online portal the day after it is completed.

To confirm an on-site assignment using TIS Online, please use one of the following options:

1. If the assignment was completed within the scheduled time, you can easily confirm it by finalising the job in your TIS Online portal. Uploading your signed Service Delivery Form (SDF) is optional.

2. If the assignment went for longer than the scheduled time, you need to vary the job in TIS Online with the new job end time entered. You will be required to upload your signed Service Delivery Form (SDF) within 14 days of the assignment to ensure you are paid for the extra time you worked.

3. If there were any other issues with your assignment that you wish to notify TIS National about, you need to dispute the job in TIS Online. Uploading your signed Service Delivery Form (SDF) is optional if you dispute a job.

How do I let TIS National know I am on holiday or unavailable to work?

If you are unavailable to accept work from TIS National, contact the Interpreter liaison team to provide them with the details of when you will be unavailable to accept work.

How do I log in to show that I am available to accept phone work?

You should use the Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) to log in to indicate that you are available to accept phone interpreting work.

Since TIS National introduced voice biometrics, there are now two different processes to log in.

Interpreters who have provided consent to voice biometrics

To log in to ATIS for phone interpreting:

1. Call 1800 880 178.

2. When prompted, enter your interpreter identification number followed by the # key.

3. To confirm your identity, please repeat the phrase 'In Australia, my voice identifies me'.

4. You will then be asked to enter the time you want to finish work. Enter a time using 24 hour format then press the # key.  

5. ATIS will confirm the time that you are available and the time you will be logged out of the system.

 

Interpreters who have not provided consent to voice biometrics

You should use the Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) to log in to indicate that you are available to accept phone interpreting work.

To log in to ATIS for phone interpreting:

1. Call 1800 880 178.

2. When prompted, enter your interpreter identification number and PIN number.

3. You will be asked to enter the time you want to finish work. Enter a time using 24 hour format then press the # key.  

4. ATIS will confirm the time that you are available and the time you will be logged out of the system.

 

How does TIS National allocate work?

TIS National allocates work using a digital list of interpreters who are logged in as available to accept work. The list is programmed to automatically give priority to the highest credentialed interpreter available, providing these interpreters with more work opportunities.

By offering work to the highest credentialed interpreter first, we are able to provide the best quality services to our clients.

To be offered as much work as possible from TIS National, ensure you log in as available using the ATIS system and consider gaining a higher level of National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation.

What should I do if I am lost or running late when going to an on-site assignment?

If you are lost, cannot find the site contact person, or you are running late for an on-site assignment, call the Channel Support phone number immediately so we can notify the client.

What should I do if I have not been paid correctly?

If you have not been paid correctly, contact the interpreter pay enquiries line.

Interpreters are paid fortnightly on Thursdays. A detailed pay slip is emailed to interpreters each pay day.

Assignments must be confirmed in TIS National’s systems the Thursday before the next pay day to receive payment for an assignment.

Remember to maintain records of all of your job numbers and the length of the assignments so that you can compare these with details on your pay slips.

If there are any assignments you believe you have not been paid for, or underpaid for, please email a list of the job numbers and details of what you think may be incorrect to the Interpreter liaison team and we will investigate them for you.

When am I likely to be offered a lot of work?

Our peak demand hours are between 10 am and 5 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Monday to Thursday.

TIS National currently experiences lower demand for services between 8 am and 10 am (AEST) from Monday to Thursday and all day on Friday.

To be offered as much work as possible from TIS National, ensure you log in as available using the ATIS system during our peak demand times.

Interpreter recruitment+Expand content

Can I work from home?

Yes. TIS National interpreters can work from home by completing telephone assignments. Interpreters working from home are required to have a quiet area to complete assignments without distractions.

Do I need an Australian Business Number to work as an interpreter?

No. TIS National interpreters are contracted as individuals not as a business therefore you do not require an Australian Business Number (ABN). TIS National automatically deducts tax from interpreter pay.

Do I need police clearance to become an interpreter?

Yes. TIS National applicants are required to provide a certified copy of a current (less than one year old) Australian Federal Police (AFP) clearance when applying to become an interpreter for TIS National.

Do TIS National interpreters receive superannuation?

Yes. Superannuation is paid to a superannuation fund of the interpreter’s choice.

Does TIS National recruit interpreters in my language?

TIS National welcomes enquiries from Australian citizens and permanent residents who are interested in becoming interpreters.

TIS National contracts interpreters in more than 160 languages and always looks to recruit interpreters in line with demand from our clients.

See career opportunities for interpreters to view our current interpreter recruitment priorities.

How do I apply to become an interpreter?

To become a TIS National interpreter you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and highly proficient in English.

We encourage interpreters to have accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) where available.

See career opportunities for interpreters to view our current interpreter accreditation requirements.

TIS National requires interpreters to be available to work between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

If you meet these criteria and are interested in becoming an interpreter with TIS National, complete the interpreter application form and submit with the following documentation:

  • a certified copy of your NAATI accreditation (if available)

  • a certified copy of proof of your Australian citizenship or permanent residency

  • a certified copy of a current (less than one year old) Australian Federal Police clearance

  • your resume

  • details of any interpreting experience you have including reference letters

How do I contact TIS National with questions about becoming an interpreter?

You can contact the TIS National Interpreter liaison team with any enquiries about becoming an interpreter.

TIS National is based in Melbourne and recruits interpreters around Australia. If you have an enquiry for the Interpreter liaison team please send your enquiry by email. You may prefer to contact the team by phone if your enquiry is urgent.

All interpreter recruitment activities will be conducted over the phone or by email.

How much will I earn as a TIS National interpreter?

As an interpreter your pay will depend on the number of assignments offered, accepted and completed by you, so your pay will vary during each pay cycle.

TIS National offers work to available interpreters with the highest level of National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) credential first.

How much work will I receive from TIS National?

Once you have been recruited to the TIS National panel you can choose to accept or decline work TIS National offers you.

TIS National offers work to available interpreters with the highest level of National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) credential first.

The volume of work offered to our interpreters is based on demand from our clients and can vary based on a variety of factors, so we cannot guarantee the amount of work you may receive from us.

I speak multiple languages. Can I interpret in all of these languages?

Interpreters can only interpret in languages included in their deed with TIS National.

It is possible to be recruited in more than one language. However, TIS National requires you to have National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) accreditation in any additional languages where it is available before you can provide services in other languages.

If TIS National recruits you to provide services in more than one language, the languages you can provide services in will be listed on your TIS National identification card.

You must not interpret for any languages not included on your deed with TIS National as you may not meet the required accreditation level or hold the appropriate skills required for that language.

If you think you meet the requirements to interpret in more than one language, please contact the Interpreter Liaison team.

What happens after I apply to become a TIS National interpreter?

TIS National uses the following interpreter recruitment process:

  1. You submit your application to TIS National.

  2. A decision will made based on your qualifications, experience and availability about whether your application will progress to the next stage. Due to the large number of applications we receive each week, the assessment of your application may take some time.

  3. We may conduct an interview with you. You can prepare for your interview by developing your understanding of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT)  Code of Ethics and preparing some of your own examples to demonstrate your understanding of the code.

  4. If you have not already provided one, you will be required to provide a current police clearance.

  5. TIS National will contact you about the outcome of your application.

  6. If you have been successful, TIS National will send you a Deed of Standing Offer to sign and some other paperwork which you need to complete and return to TIS National.

  7. You will be invited to attend a group teleconference induction session. The induction is a process that every interpreter commencing work with TIS National must complete. Induction helps our new interpreters to gain knowledge about completing assignments, how to use our systems and other important information. You will also find out about your TIS National Interpreter liaison officer.

  8. After completing the teleconference induction, you will be required to arrange a time for a one-on-one induction with your Interpreter liaison officer.

  9. After you complete the one-on-one induction session you will be added to our interpreter panel and can start accepting work from TIS National.

When do I need to be available to work as an interpreter?

TIS National requires interpreters to be available for work between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. This is when TIS National receives the majority of our calls from clients.

TIS National provides services 24 hours a day, every day of the year so you may still be able to accept work outside of these hours.

Interpreters can choose to accept or decline work offered from TIS National based on their availability.

Why should I work for TIS National?

TIS National is one of the largest interpreting services in Australia and the market leader in the provision of telephone interpreting. TIS National’s resources and depth of experience makes it ideally placed to provide professional interpreting services for all Australians.

TIS National:

  • provides telephone interpreting services 24 hours, every day of the year

  • has over 40 years of experience in the industry

  • delivers Access and Equity to non-English speakers in the Australian community

  • offers work to the highest accredited interpreter available in the language requested first

TIS National interpreters are also insured for professional indemnity, public liability and workers compensation.

Interpreter support+Expand content

Does TIS National provide sick leave or annual leave?

No. TIS National interpreters are independent contractors and are paid based on the number of assignments they accept and complete.

If you are sick and unavailable to accept work from TIS National, you should contact your Interpreter liaison officer so we can make the necessary changes to your availability while you are unable to work.

How do I provide feedback to TIS National about an assignment?

TIS National values interpreter feedback as it helps us to identify potential issues and improve the services we provide to our clients.

If you want to provide feedback to TIS National, contact your Interpreter liaison officer by email. For urgent matters please contact them by phone. Your Interpreter liaison officer will respond to your enquiry, or refer your enquiry to the relevant area in TIS National to respond.

What happens if a client provides feedback about my services?

When TIS National receives feedback about an interpreter, operator or service, it is recorded in our systems before being referred to the appropriate area in TIS National to investigate.

If feedback relates to an interpreter, an Interpreter liaison officer will investigate the feedback and may contact you to conduct a coaching conversation to help you improve performance.

TIS National handles all feedback in an open and honest way.

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping assesses the performance of TIS National interpreters.

The performance of TIS National interpreters is assessed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) and the information is used to positively address performance issues with individual interpreters.

Interpreter Liaison officers may contact you to discuss findings from a mystery shopped assignment. We encourage you to use this opportunity to actively consider new techniques to improve the quality of service you provide to TIS National clients.

What is the Employee Assistance Program?

We consider the health and safety of our workers to be important and seek to provide programs for their on-going support. TIS National provides free and confidential short term counselling for interpreters and their immediate families through the department’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Davidson Trahaire Corpsych is the department's provider of the EAP and their staff are professionally qualified psychologists or social workers.

The EAP can cover a broad range of topics for work related or personal issues including:

  • career counselling

  • workplace mediation

  • interpersonal issues

  • performance and learning issues

  • organisational change

  • discrimination/harassment

  • emotional or psychological health

  • family/relationship issues

  • legal/financial issues

  • addictions/gambling issues

  • health and lifestyle

Contact the Interpreter liaison team for more information about the EAP for interpreters.

What support does TIS National provide to interpreters?

TIS National interpreters receive direct support from a team of dedicated Interpreter liaison officers to assist with enquiries relating to interpreting assignments.

Interpreter liaison officers can assist to clarify ethical issues, report workplace health and safety concerns and provide feedback about interpreting assignments. The team can also provide assistance if you need to de-brief after a particularly challenging assignment.

You can contact the Interpreter liaison team by phone or email.

TIS National assignments+Expand content

What types of assignments may I be offered from TIS National?

TIS National may offer you the following types interpreting assignments:

  • Immediate and pre-booked phone assignments

  • On-site and video interpreting assignments

  • Non-metro and Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) assignments.

Assignments depend on the requests we receive from our clients. The duration of assignments, the location of assignments and the type of client you are providing services to will vary depending on the request.

See assignment information for interpreters for more information.

TIS Online for interpreters+Expand content

Are any training materials available to help me use TIS Online?

Yes. You can access a copy of A guide to TIS Online for interpreters in Portable Document Format (PDF) as well as view the TIS Online instructional video for interpreters from the TIS Online for interpreters section of our website.

Are IMA deployment jobs managed through TIS Online?

No, you can’t see Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) deployment jobs in TIS Online.

If you accept an IMA deployment and you’ve already accepted other bookings for that period, you need to return them using TIS Online. You also need to update your ‘Special unavailability’ in TIS Online to show that you are not available for other work during that period.

Are jobs posted to TIS Online at a particular time of the day?

No. Our agency clients also have the ability to log into TIS Online to make new booking requests. New jobs become available whenever the agency makes the booking request. While most agencies typically operate during business hours, they can make a new booking request at any time of the day or night.

Are pre-booked phone jobs managed through TIS Online?

Currently only on-site jobs are managed through TIS Online.

Can I accept a job from the email notification or do I need to log into TIS Online?

You need to log into TIS Online to accept a job. The email notifications include a link which you can click on to take you to the job in TIS Online.

Can I see jobs offered to me by a booking officer in TIS Online?

Yes. When you accept a job from a booking officer, you will be able to see it in your TIS Online account.

Can I still get jobs offered from booking officers?

All standard on-site jobs are managed through TIS Online, however you may still on occasion receive a call from a booking officer offering you a job (for example, urgent jobs or jobs which can’t be managed through TIS Online).

Can I use TIS Online on my mobile device?

Yes. TIS Online works on internet-enabled mobile devices, so you can manage your jobs whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you. We recommend that you regularly update the software on your mobile device to make sure TIS Online works most effectively.

Do I need separate log in details for each language I interpret in?

No. All jobs that are available to you are shown in your single TIS Online account.

Do I need to stay logged in to TIS Online?

It’s entirely up to you how often you want to log into TIS Online.

TIS Online sends you notifications by email when new jobs become available to you, but you may also like to log into TIS Online when it’s convenient for you to view all of the jobs available to you.

Do I still need to get SDFs signed at each on-site job?

Yes. You still need to get a Service Delivery form (SDF) signed at each on-site job and submit a copy to TIS National when the booking runs for longer than the scheduled time. Please note, you can no longer use the ATIS interpreter line to confirm your on-site jobs. All on-site jobs should be finalised through TIS Online.

Do I still need to log into ATIS for phone interpreting?

Yes, you still need to log into ATIS to accept phone interpreting work. You are able to update your general availability for phone work in TIS Online, but you still need to log in and out of ATIS each day you want to accept phone interpreting work.

Does TIS Online log me out after a certain period of time?

Yes. TIS Online automatically logs you out after 20 minutes of inactivity to ensure no one else can access your account if using your computer or device.

Does TIS Online manage jobs in all languages?

Yes. On-site bookings for all languages are managed through TIS Online.

Does TIS Online notify me when a new job is available to me?

Yes. TIS Online automatically sends you a notification by email when a new job becomes available to you. You will also receive notifications by email and/or SMS when:

  • your profile is updated

  • one of your bookings has changed

  • one of your bookings is cancelled

  • one of your bookings is ready to be finalised

  • one of your bookings is varied or disputed.

Does TIS Online offer jobs to all interpreters or just to me?

Jobs are offered to all of the highest-credentialed interpreters who meet the job requirements at the same time, before being progressively released to lower credentialed interpreters until an interpreter accepts it.

In line with TIS National policy regarding requesting a specific interpreter, it is rare that a job would be offered only to you, however in the case a job is offered only to you, you have 24 hours to accept it before it will be made available to other interpreters.

You can view jobs which have been offered specifically to you in the ‘Jobs offered only to you’ section in TIS Online.

How can I access support using TIS Online?

You can contact the Channel Support team if you need assistance using TIS Online. The team is available during standard business hours. For urgent enquiries outside of these hours, please call the TIS National contact centre on 131 450.

For assistance with matters not related to TIS Online, please contact the TIS National Interpreter Liaison team.

How can I provide feedback about TIS Online?

You can provide feedback about TIS Online by completing our feedback form. Alternatively, you can contact the TIS National Interpreter Liaison team.

How much will I be paid for on-site jobs offered through TIS Online?

Jobs managed through TIS Online attract the same rates as on-site work as detailed in Schedule 3 of your Deed of Standing Offer.

Jobs are paid in accordance with the current pay calendar. Jobs which are finalised before the specified cut-off dates will be paid on the following pay day.

I don’t have access to the internet. Can I still get on-site work?

You must be registered with TIS Online to be eligible to receive on-site interpreting work, so it is strongly recommended that you consider getting access to the internet if you want to be offered on-site interpreting work. You may still receive the occasional on-site job offer from a booking officer, however the majority of on-site work is offered exclusively through TIS Online.

Is there a TIS Online app?

No. At this stage you need to access TIS Online using an internet browser, however if may be useful to bookmark TIS Online onto the home screen of your mobile device for easy access.

Is work distributed fairly through TIS Online?

Yes. All interpreters have the same opportunity to accept jobs in TIS Online.

TIS Online always offers jobs to the highest credentialed interpreters who meet the job requirements first. Jobs are only made available to interpreters with a lower credential level when they have not been accepted by a higher credentialed interpreter after being available to them for six hours.

What can I do through TIS Online?

TIS Online allows you to:

  • log into your personal TIS Online account and update your details and availability for on-site work

  • view all of the on-site interpreting jobs available to you

  • accept on-site jobs and view and manage any changes to your jobs

  • finalise or dispute on-site jobs which you have completed

  • view historical jobs you have completed

  • receive notifications by email and SMS as new jobs become available to you or the status of your accepted jobs change.

What happens if an interpreter accepts a job just before I do?

TIS Online does not allow two interpreters to accept the same job.

In this case, you will see a message stating that the job is no longer available for you to accept. In this case, it’s a good idea to refresh your screen regularly when using TIS Online to make sure you only see jobs which are still available to be accepted.

What is TIS Online?

TIS Online is an automated booking tool which allows agency clients and interpreters to request and manage their TIS National on-site interpreter bookings online.

What jobs can I see in TIS Online?

TIS Online only shows you standard on-site jobs which you meet the criteria for and are eligible to accept. This is based on:

Will TIS Online work on my computer?

TIS Online has been designed for both PC and Apple-based operating systems and is optimised for recent internet browsers. To ensure TIS Online renders most effectively, we recommend you regularly update your internet browser.