Free Interpreting Service for trade unions

The Free Interpreting Service aims to provide equitable access to key services for people with limited or no English language proficiency.

Trade unions can access the Free Interpreting Service to assist workers to access support and advice.

Why should trade unions 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.

Trade unions represent the interests of their members and help them to access supports. Trade unions can engage a credentialed interpreter to communicate technical or complex information to members with limited or no English language proficiency. This is particularly important when explaining entitlements, advocating on behalf of a member, or promoting workplace health and safety.

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 trade unions

Trade unions can use the Free Interpreting Service to access interpreting services delivered by TIS National, including:


Trade unions are eligible to access the Free Interpreting Service to communicate with anyone in Australia who is eligible for Medicare.

The Free Interpreting Service can be used to provide support and advice to workers, including but not limited to:

  • employment or award conditions
  • union services 
  • occupational health and safety concerns
  • representing a member during a dispute resolution.

The Free Interpreting Service cannot be used by trade unions for:

  • contract negotiation
  • recruitment activities and membership drives
  • attending legal proceedings, where the responsibility for providing interpreting services lies with the Fair Work Ombudsman or the relevant court or tribunal
  • communicating with people who are not eligible for Medicare, such as Temporary work and Student visa holders.

If you need to communicate with members on matters not covered by the Free Interpreting Service you may wish to set up a user-pays code with TIS National.

Register for the Free Interpreting Service 

Each trade union will need a unique client code to access the service. To register for the Free Interpreting Service, complete the online client registration form on the TIS National website. If you require assistance with registering, contact TIS National on 1300 575 847, or

More information

Free Interpreting Service: 131 450

Download the PDF version of the Free Interpreting Service - trade unions information sheet
Download the DOC version of the Free Interpreting Service - trade unions information sheet