Immediate phone interpreting

Immediate phone interpreting is available 24 hours, every day of the year for agency clients and people with limited or no English proficiency who need to use an interpreter over the phone.

Types of phone interpreting
TIS National Contact Centre
Should I accept TIS National calls initiated by non-English speakers?
What is required information?

Types of phone interpreting

TIS National offers two types of phone interpreting services:

If you need to schedule a phone interpreter in advance, please use our pre-booked phone interpreting service.

In addition to operator-assisted access to an immediate phone interpreter, TIS National also offers an Automated Telephone Interpreting Service. Read more about it here.

TIS National Contact Centre

Calling 131 450

TIS National provides operator-assisted access to an immediate phone interpreter in over 150 languages where you request your language and the operator allocates the interpreter for you. 

When you dial 131 450, an automated prompt will ask you which language you need.

If you are registered with TIS as an agency client, you will be given an option to use our automated service, ATIS.

If you do not wish to use ATIS, simply say 'no' and you will be placed in the queue to speak with a TIS National Contact Centre operator who can allocate the interpreter for you.  

Once TIS has the interpreter on the line, if you need your client to be called, simply tell the operator and they will be able to conference your non-English speaking client into the call.

Required information

When your call is answered, the TIS National operator will ask you for the following information:

  • to confirm the language you have requested
  • your TIS National client code
  • your agency's name and the section you work in
  • your name and phone number
  • the non-English speaker's name
  • the non-English speaker's phone number (if you require TIS to conference them into the call)
  • any required information your agency has requested be recorded by TIS National (for example, an identification number or claim number).

To help our operators process your request as quickly as possible, please have this information ready to provide when requested.

Please view our pricing before requesting TIS National services.

Should I accept TIS National calls initiated by non-English speakers?

Access to Australian Government services should be free of discrimination irrespective of a person’s country of birth, culture, or linguistic background. If you are part of a government agency, you have an obligation under the whole of government strategy Access and Equity to provide accessible services to clients with limited English proficiency by providing interpreters.

TIS National encourages private agencies to accept incoming interpreting calls from TIS National, to enable non-English speaking callers to contact the services available to English speaking clients or customers. Where an agency does not accept interpreter-assisted calls, the non-English speaker may need to seek similar services through another agency.

There are options available to associate ‘required information’ fields with your client code to help identify participants engaged in NES-initiated calls. Contact your Client Engagement account manager for more information.

What is required information?

Agencies use TIS National services in different ways. Agencies’ needs will vary depending on the type of interactions they have with non-English speakers in the community.

As part of our premium service offering we can record information on individual jobs each time services are accessed through TIS National. This can assist you to:

  • maintain records of services
  • identify who communications campaigns are reaching
  • easily reconcile financial accounts.

Examples of required information could be:

  • requesting that non-English speakers are connected to a specific phone number 
  • capturing unique identifiers and other information to help identify your non-English speaking clients
  • capturing unique identifiers to help you identify staff using the account.

Contact our Client Engagement team to discuss what required information options can be included on your account.