Help using TIS National

There is a range of TIS National services available, and anyone with limited English proficiency can initiate the request for an interpreter to connect with businesses and organisations.

Help using TIS National

Who can I contact through TIS National?

TIS National provides interpreting services to a wide range of agencies and businesses throughout Australia.

Some of our clients include:

  • state and federal government departments
  • local councils
  • medical and health practitioners
  • pharmacies
  • utility companies
  • telecommunication companies
  • emergency services
  • legal services
  • settlement and community service providers
  • real estate agencies.

If the agency or business you need to contact provides an interpreting service phone number that is not 131 450, please dial the number provided before contacting TIS National. If they use an alternative interpreting service provider, TIS National may be unable to connect your call.

When can I contact agencies and businesses through TIS National?

Although TIS National services are available 24 hours a day, we only connect interpreting phone calls during the operating hours of the agency or business you want to contact.

We always recommend visiting the website of the agency or business to check their operating hours as the first step. Some of our agency client websites also provide information in languages other than English.

Below is a general guide of when to contact TIS National:

Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm (AEST) – we can usually connect to most registered agencies and organisations within standard business hours. This includes Home Affairs and other government services.

Outside business hours or weekends – we can connect to hospitals and some health services or businesses such as insurance or utilities. We suggest checking the agency website before calling during this time.

Public holidays (Australia-wide or state holidays) – we recommend to wait and call during standard business hours unless your call is an emergency.

Do organisations have to provide an interpreter?

Australian Government departments and agencies have an obligation to be responsive to the needs of clients with limited English proficiency under Australia's Multicultural Access and Equity Policy.

Some private organisations may not accept calls from TIS National, however if you call the organisation directly they may be able to call you back with a phone interpreter.

If you want to contact an organisation that is not a TIS National client and the organisation is not willing to accept the charges for the service, you may choose to create a personal account with TIS National and pay for the service yourself. Find out how to register a personal account with TIS National.

What should I do if I know the interpreter TIS National connects me to?

If you realise you know the allocated interpreter, it is your decision if you want to continue the interpreting session. If you do not want to continue with the same interpreter, tell the TIS National operator or the organisation and end the call.

Can I request a male or female interpreter?

Yes. If you would prefer an interpreter of a particular gender, tell the TIS National operator or organisation you are contacting as soon as possible. TIS National will try to provide you with an interpreter of the requested gender.

What support can be accessed for domestic and family violence situations?

The Australian Government has developed a Family Safety Pack with information on Australia’s laws regarding domestic and family violence, sexual assault and forced marriage, and a woman’s right to be safe. The pack includes eight factsheets and a storyboard, available in 46 languages. The Family Safety Pack is available on the Department of Social Services website.

TIS National can also connect you to range of family services using an interpreter.