Working with TIS National interpreters

The role of the interpreter

The interpreter’s role is to accurately convey the whole spoken message from one language to another while abiding by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics.

The AUSIT Code of Ethics is intended to regulate the professional conduct of Australian interpreters and includes:

  • professional conduct

  • confidentiality

  • competence

  • impartiality

  • accuracy

  • clarity of role boundaries

  • maintaining professional relationships

  • professional development

  • professional solidarity.

The interpreter should arrive on time and stay for the duration of your booking, unless you require the session to finish early.

Tips for getting the most out of your interpreting session

Some tips to help you use interpreters most effectively are:

  • Allow time prior to the interview to brief the interpreter so they have an understanding of what the session entails.

  • Be sure to have a private area organised where the session can take place.

  • Arrange seating in a triangular form to allow for easy communication between the interpreter and the client.

  • It is ideal to position yourself so that the non-English speaking client is directly facing you and the interpreter is sitting to the side.

  • Introduce yourself and brief the interpreter on the main topics you will be discussing.

  • Ensure the interpreter knows what type of telephone you are using and if they are on speaker phone.

  • Always speak in the first person and speak directly to the non-English speaker.

  • Allow the interpreter to clarify information if necessary.

  • Use clear language and short sentences.

  • Avoid using jargon, slang, idioms or proverbs.

  • Include a pause after each sentence so that the call participants do not talk over each other or cut each other off.

  • If it is a long call, the interpreter may require a few minutes break on the half-hour.

  • Clearly indicate the end of the conference call to everyone involved.

More information

TIS National can also assist you to work effectively with interpreters by developing a presentation slideshow specific to your organisation. Contact a TIS National Client Engagement Account Manager for more information.

You can also find out more about working effectively with TIS National interpreters in our frequently asked questions for agencies.

Other useful resources 



The Department of Social Services

Working with interpreters in the domestic violence sector