Allocation policy

TIS National allocates work to interpreters based on their NAATI credential level and availability. In some circumstances, we may consider a limited range of other factors when assigning work to interpreters. 


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 NAATI credential level always remains a primary criterion.


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 most highly 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.

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 interpreter with the highest NAATI credential available for your booking.

We will only agree to a specific interpreter request if the client can clearly demonstrate what exceptional circumstances apply to warrant allocation outside our normal Allocation 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. Clients have access to download this form during the booking process.

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 generally be made at least three business days prior to the appointment date. Requests made less than three business days in advance will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and will generally result in an interpreter being allocated in accordance with standard TIS National interpreter allocation policy.

If a specific interpreter request is declined, the booking will either be offered to the most highly credentialed available interpreter or cancelled, depending on your selection as to whether TIS National can assign another interpreter.

No other considerations are ordinarily taken into account when allocating interpreters to bookings.

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
  • 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
  • will not accept previous performance or prior knowledge of an interpreter as reason for the provision of a specific interpreter, except where related to continuity of care or service.

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.

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.