Help using TIS National services

Become a TIS National client

Agency and business clients that need access to TIS National interpreting services need to register to become a TIS National client.

Not sure? Talk to someone about becoming a client, by contacting the TIS National Client Liaison Team.

What services does TIS National provide?

TIS National provides interpreting services to agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients. These services also enable non-English speakers to independently access your organisations services and information.

TIS National has access to over 2300 contracted interpreters across Australia, speaking more than 140 different languages.

TIS National provides access to the following interpreting services:

Immediate and automated phone interpreting

You can access immediate phone interpreting services through TIS National by using the ATIS automated voice-prompted service or through our premium operator-assisted service. See Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) for more information.

Pre-booked phone interpreting

You may need to book a phone interpreting service in advance of a scheduled appointment or interview. See pre-booked phone interpreting for more information.

On-site interpreting

On-site interpreting is available to book an interpreter to attend an appointment face-to-face at a particular location. TIS National can arrange for any location in Australia (subject to interpreter availability). See on-site interpreting for more information.

Telehealth video interpreting

If you are a general practitioner, medical specialist, nurse practitioner and allied health professional, you can book an interpreter to join a Telehealth video consultation using your choice of video conferencing platform. These may include: healthdirect Video Call, Zoom, WebEx and Skype. See Frequently Asked Questions for agencies for more information.

Working with TIS National interpreters

Some useful information and tips about working with TIS National interpreters are available to help you ensure you get the most out of our services and communicate accurately with your clients.

TIS National's Allocation Policy

TIS National’s policy is to allocate work to interpreters on the basis of their:

This ensures that clients receive the most qualified available interpreter. 

In some circumstances, we may take limited additional factors such as those outlined below into account when determining allocation. TIS National may also depart from this policy in other exceptional circumstances. However, the highest available credential level always remains a primary criterion.

Gender

TIS National accepts that there are sometimes circumstances where an interpreter of a specific gender is required. For example, this may be necessary for sensitive matters, especially those of a medical nature. To facilitate this, clients can indicate the gender of interpreter required if this is important. We will then allocate the highest credentialed available interpreter of that gender wherever possible.

Specialist interpreter

Clients working in health or legal settings may request an interpreter with specialist interpreting credentials. For these requests, TIS National will allocate the most highly credentialed available interpreter who holds the required Certified Specialist Interpreter credential1.

(1. Clients should note that the number of interpreters with specialist credentials is currently very limited. TIS National recommends that clients who request a specialist interpreter should also select the option for the most highly credentialed available interpreter. This will allow us to supply an interpreter if there are no specialist interpreters available.)

Worker screening checks

Occasionally, clients may specify that a worker screening check such as a Working with Children’s Check is required in order to comply with relevant legislation. In these circumstances, we will allocate the most highly credentialed available interpreter who holds the required Check.

Specific Interpreter Requests

TIS National strongly encourages clients to avoid requesting specific interpreters where possible as this:

  • may limit our ability to supply an interpreter, particularly for urgent requests (the specified interpreter may not be available when requested); and
  • may not result in allocation of the most highly credentialed interpreter available for your appointment.

We will only agree to a specific interpreter request if the client can clearly demonstrate what exceptional circumstances apply to warrant allocation outside of normal policy. To make a request, clients must complete an Acknowledgement of requirements for the provision of a specific interpreter form, including details of the exceptional circumstances which apply.

Requests are assessed on a case-by-case basis and are more likely to be considered favourably if a client can demonstrate that allocation of the nominated interpreter is:

  • essential to maintaining the quality and continuity of care or service; and
  • of clear benefit to the non-English speaking client.

Specific interpreter requests must be made at least three business days prior to the appointment date. Requests made with insufficient notice will only be considered if the client is able to demonstrate material reasons why sufficient notice could not be provided.

If a specific interpreter request is declined, the client will be offered the highest credentialed interpreter available at the time. If the client chooses not to accept this interpreter, they must cancel the request with sufficient notice, in accordance with TIS National's Cancellation Policy, in order to avoid charges. Cancellations must be made in TIS Online or in writing, as appropriate.

No other considerations are ordinarily taken into account when allocating assignments.

TIS National:

  • does not keep records on interpreters’ ethnicity, nationality, country of birth, religion or political affiliations and is unable to allocate interpreters based on these considerations
  • will not provide a specific interpreter simply to meet the personal preferences of the client or non-English speaker (NES)
  • will not agree to allocate a specific interpreter outside of the usual allocation policy where there is no evidence to substantiate a history or continuity of care or service.

Interpreters should refer to the Allocation Policy Procedural Instruction in the TIS Online interpreter portal for further details on how the Allocation Policy applies to them.