Assignment information for interpreters

TIS National interpreting assignments

TIS National may offer you the following types interpreting assignments:

  • Immediate and pre-booked phone assignments

  • Video interpreting assignments 

  • On-site assignments

  • Extended Travel 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.

TIS National provides interpreting services to over 60,000 agency clients, including the Department of Home Affairs.

TIS National assignments come from a range of clients and agencies including:

  • emergency services

  • medical and health practitioners

  • government departments

  • legal services

  • telecommunications companies

  • utility companies

  • settlement and community service providers.

Immediate and pre-booked phone interpreting

When completing phone interpreting assignments you may:

  • need to facilitate communication between the non-English speaker and the TIS National operator

  • be required to assist the agency or the non-English speaker to call a third party

  • be put on loud speaker if the agency is in a room with the non-English speaker.

When accepting phone assignments ensure that you:

  • have a good phone connection

  • are in a quiet and comfortable location

  • have a pen and paper available

  • focus only on your interpreting assignment

  • are not driving, cooking or completing other tasks

  • abide by the terms of your deed and the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct

  • record the job number and time the call started and finished.

On occasion, a phone interpreting session may be disconnected. If this happens, you should stay by your phone and not accept any other assignments for five minutes in case we need to reconnect the call.

Immediate phone interpreting

Immediate phone interpreting is when an agency client or a non-English speaker calls TIS National and requests to be connected to an interpreter immediately. The immediate phone service is regularly used in emergency situations.

This service allows non-English speakers to independently access services when they need them. The service contributes to the whole-of-government Access and Equity strategy.

You need to log-in as available using the to Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) to be offered immediate telephone interpreting assignments.

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'. If you have not set up your Vocal Password you will need to enter your PIN number.
  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.

You should log out when you are not available for phone interpreting assignments.

A TIS National operator will call you when an immediate phone interpreting assignment is available.

ATIS automated immediate phone interpreting

The ATIS automated phone interpreting service allows agency clients to request an immediate phone interpreter in a range of high demand languages without the assistance of a TIS National operator.

You must log-in as available to accept work using the Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) to receive calls requested by clients through ATIS. You should log out when you are not available for interpreting assignments.

When you receive a call offered through ATIS, an automated system will say ‘this is ATIS calling, press # if you want to accept this call’.

  • To accept the call, press the # key.

  • If you do not want to accept the call, hang up immediately.

Many of our clients use ATIS to directly connect with interpreters in many high demand languages. So, you may receive immediate phone assignments from ATIS as well as TIS National operators.

Pre-booked phone interpreting

The pre-booked phone interpreting service is available for agency clients to book a phone interpreter in advance of an appointment.

If you have accepted a pre-booked phone assignment TIS National will provide some basic details about the assignment. You must be available and ready to answer the call at the arranged time, and remain available for the entire duration of the booked period.

When you accept a pre-booked phone assignment you may also be requested to review some briefing material in preparation for the assignment.

Please contact TIS National if you require further assistance.

On-site interpreting

The on-site interpreting service is available for agency clients to book an interpreter to attend an appointment face-to-face. When using a phone interpreter would not be suitable, a client may request for you to visit their location. This could include:

  • a private residence

  • an office

  • a facility such as a police station or hospital

  • a court

  • or another location as requested by the agency client.

There is significant demand for on-site interpreting so we encourage you to accept on-site assignments where possible.

On-site interpreting assignments are offered to interpreters through TIS Online, our online booking request an allocation system. Find out more about TIS Online on the TIS Online for interpreters page on our website.

When accepting and attending onsite assignments, please ensure that you:

  • dress professionally

  • wear your TIS National name tag and identification card

  • arrive on time (contact TIS National by phone immediately if you are running late for an on-site appointment)

  • turn your mobile phone off during the assignment

  • abide by the terms of your Deed of Standing Offer, the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct and the TIS National Code of Ethics and Conduct

  • take water and food for your break if you are attending a long appointment (more than 90 minutes)

  • request the agency to complete a Service Delivery Form (SDF) at the end of the appointment

  • finalise jobs you have completed in TIS Online.

If you accept an on-site job which you can no longer complete, please return the job through TIS Online with at least 24 hours’ notice.

Extended Travel and Illegal Maritime Arrival interpreting

Extended Travel on-site interpreting is an assignment where you are required to travel 100 kilometres or more from your residential address to the location of your appointment. When you accept an Extended Travel assignment the agency requesting the service will be required to pay for your travel costs and accommodation (if required). TIS National will notify you if you are being offered an Extended Travel interpreting assignment where travel is required.

Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) interpreting involves attending immigration detention facilities and regional processing centres on request from the Department of Home Affairs, to provide interpreting services to assist with the IMA response.

The TIS National IMA booking team maintains a list of interpreters available for IMA work. If you indicated during your induction that you are interested in accepting these assignments you will be added to this list.

Extended Travel and IMA work offers depend on requests received from our clients and priority is given to the highest credentialed available interpreter.