What is NAATI Accreditation and Recognition?

NAATI Accreditation and Recognition

Not all countries have strict rules for translators and interpreters, but Australia does. The organization that sets and monitors standards in this field is called the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). It is the body that provides the national standard and accreditation for translators and interpreters. Its aim is to seek to maintain high national standards in translating and interpreting to ensure there is a pool of talented and accredited translators and interpreters available to meet the demands for language translation in a multilingual country. The primary aim of NAATI is to issue credentials or accreditations that recognize the skills of translators and interpreters so that they can be employed in the community and those who employ them know that they will do a good job.

How to Get NAATI Accreditation?

There are several ways of getting NAATI accreditation

  • Sitting and passing a NAATI assessment test
  • Passing a course that has been NAATI approved
  • Providing proof of an overseas qualification in translating and interpreting at the tertiary level
  • Providing proof of membership of a translating professional body overseas.

NAATI recognition isn’t offered in all languages, particularly those that aren’t in high demand.  Once you have been granted NAATI recognition it is an acknowledgment that you have recent experience as a successful translator and/or interpreter.

There are a number of NAATI-approved translation and interpreting courses that are qualifications of at least a diploma level or higher. The courses are offered by certain Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education campuses that have been approved by NAATI as having the credentials to teach and assess the knowledge and skills needed in the translation environment. Anyone who gains a qualification at a NAATI-approved educational institution may file an application for NAATI accreditation without the necessity to undergo any more testing.

NAATI certified

Revalidating your Translating Credentials is a Requirement of NAATI

Accreditation from NAATI does have an expiry date. Every now and again if you have NAATI accreditation you are required to produce evidence that you have been working as a translator and have been involved in professional development. This evidence is sufficient to revalidate your credentials for the following 3 years.

Why NAATI Accreditation is Useful for Immigration

NAATI accreditation isn’t just there to prove you can translate. It can help those wishing to migrate to Australia in a number of ways, including the following.

  • It is part of a skills assessment for those migrants or workers who are sponsored by an employer or who have been nominated for employment by a territory or state government.
  • Accreditation is a qualification that points can be claimed for in the skill category as a translator or interpreter, which is particularly useful for a migration visa that is accessible on gaining a certain number of points.
  • NAATI accreditation can also be used for the migration visa that’s based on points called the Credentialled Community Language (CCL) points.

The 1994 Migration Regulations has allocated NAATI as the assessment authority for the interpreter and translator occupations. If you file an application for your skills to be assessed, NAATI will offer to provide an assessment of your skills in two categories, which are either as “suitable” or “unsuitable” for your specific occupation as either a translator or interpreter, i.e. NAATI professional-level accreditation or higher.

Benefits of NAATI Test Clearance

It’s not too difficult to understand that if you have NAATI accreditation it will help with your migration application by accumulating much-needed points.

Why do I Need my Documents Translated by a NAATI Accredited Translator?

NAATI Certified Document

It is a requirement of most Australian government departments including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which handles visa applications,  that all documents that are not in English must be translated by a NAATI translator for anyone who wishes to apply in one of the migration categories to reside in Australia (assuming the translation is getting done in Australia). That means if you have important documents like birth and marriage certificates that are not in English they must be translated by a NAATI translator before they are presented as part of your migration documentation. There are other documents that might fall into this category, including degree and diploma certificates, past employer references, and medical examination documents completed in another language that’s not English.

Types of NAATI Accreditation

Under NAATI’s present system, there are 10 different kinds of accreditation, which are listed below.

Conference Interpreter (Senior)

This is the highest level of accreditation for NAATI accreditation. It shows the person has an excellent level in conference interpreting which has been recognized by extensive experience and success in this area.

Advanced Translator

This is NAATI translating accreditation at the highest level. It shows an excellent level in specialized translation, gained through not only extensive experience but international leadership in translation too. 

Conference Interpreter

This shows the ability to interpret in complicated, technical, and sophisticated situations. Conference interpreters work in situations where high-level negotiations are underway and at court proceedings.

Advanced Translator

This sort of competence level is necessary when handling the more complex, technical, and more sophisticated translations. Often an advanced translator will work on technical manuals, will translate research papers, conference documents, and work on documents related to higher-level negotiations and on documents related to court proceedings.

Professional Interpreter

This group represents the lowest level of competence for interpreting as recommended by NAATI for working in many different environments including the areas of law, banking, health, community, and social services. A professional interpreter is capable of interpreting in semi-specialized environments and is able to use the consecutive mode in order to interpret presentations and speeches.

Professional Translator

This represents the minimum level of competence for professional translating and is the minimum level recommended by NAATI for work in settings including banking, law, health, social, and community services. Translators at this level work across a wide range of subjects involving documents with specialized content.

Para-professional Interpreter

This accreditation is the competence level in interpreting for general conversations. Para-professional interpreters usually participate in the interpretation of dialogues that are non-specialist. Practitioners who have been accredited at this level are generally encouraged to get professional-level accreditation if they can.

Para-professional Translator

This is the competence level necessary for undertaking translations of non-specialized information such as a birth certificate. A practitioner at this level could get a more professional level accreditation when ready to do so.

Recognized Interpreter

This credential doesn’t have a specified proficiency level. All recognized interpreters should try to get a higher level of accreditation.

Recognized Translator

This is a NAATI credential that acknowledges the date of the award the translator has had regular and recent experience working as a translator with no particular proficiency level specified.

How NAATI Translator Accreditation is Awarded at a Minimum of a Professional Level

  • from a language other than English (LOTE) into English;
  • from English into a LOTE;
  • in both directions.

NAATI Exam Questions

There are kits you can buy to prepare you for the NAATI exam questions which include materials relevant for your area as follows:

For a Paraprofessional Interpreter, a Test Kit Includes:

  • a complete set of dialogue and questions which are similar to replicate a NAATI test;
  • 2 extra practice dialogues;
  • suggested question answers;
  • a CD that includes a sample test with practice dialogues;
  • an interpreter’s handbook.

For a Professional Interpreter Sample Test, Each Kit:

  • is available in all languages;
  • includes a script of a complete test  with questions, sight translation, dialogues, and consecutive tasks;
  • includes two extra dialogues for practicing;
  • has 2 additional practice consecutive passages for practice; I am into English while the other is into LOTE
  • has a CD that includes 2 extra practice sight translation passages
  • includes an interpreter’s handbook

The Paraprofessional Translator Practice Kit:

  • is available in certain languages only;
  • is a script of 1 set of translation passages;
  • contains ethics questions found in a NAATI test;
  • includes 2 extra practice passages in the 2 languages and in both directions;
  • includes a translator’s handbook.

The Professional Translator Sample Test Includes:

  • sample tests in most languages;
  • a script of 1 whole set of translation passages;
  • ethics questions similar to a NAATI test in both language directions;
  • sample translations and answers to ethics questions;
  • 3 extra practice passages in each language in both directions;
  • extra ethics questions.


The NAATI translator accreditation is a service that benefits all involved in the translation industry. It accredits translators and interpreters so they can prove their expertise in their field and have a better chance of employment. It helps organizations, such as the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, ensure that potential immigrants have the required credentials to enter the country. It also ensures that NAATI translators and interpreters keep up their standards by insisting on revalidation of NAATI status every 3 years. All in all, NAATI accreditation is the envy of countries throughout the world.

A NAATI translation expert can teach us why language study is so important

Learning another language can be tough, so why do it in the first place? After all, isn’t the language you were born with good enough to get us through life?  Unfortunately, the answer is no – at least not in the era we are in today. Here’s why.

Continue reading “A NAATI translation expert can teach us why language study is so important”

An Example of Creative Translation

Often, translators do not just translate everyday text from one language into another, but they have to engage in being particularly creative. Some translators call this transcreation or creative translation. It is mostly used when there is a word in one language that has no real equivalent in another. What does the NAATI accredited translator do when this sort of situation arises in a piece of text they are required to translate?

Continue reading “An Example of Creative Translation”

NAATI Translation Helps the CSIRO’s Research Efforts

Australia changed the way it managed skilled migration a few years ago, making it easier in some ways to attract skilled workers in a number of occupations where there was an existing skill shortage. Some of the overseas migrants come for a year or two then return to their own countries, others love the life here and go on to apply for permanent residence.

Continue reading “NAATI Translation Helps the CSIRO’s Research Efforts”

From Burmese Refugee to Australian Citizen with the Help of NAATI Translation

There are many moving stories of how migrants have managed to escape a harrowing background and have managed to move to Australia and made a successful transition despite the many hurdles they may have faced.

Continue reading “From Burmese Refugee to Australian Citizen with the Help of NAATI Translation”

Getting Re-married Overseas? Have You Got an Officially Translated Divorce Certificate?

Australians love to travel and sometimes travel turns to love. If you meet someone overseas whether it is through initial contact here in Australia or on a holiday or while you were working and you plan to marry, you will probably be asked to show that you are free to marry. It may be that all you have to say is that you are single and not married, but if you have been married before and are now divorced you may have to show that you are legitimately divorced before you can get married. The difference between being married and not married can make all the difference in some countries and you may not be allowed to stay in that country unless you are officially married. If your partner to be is a citizen of a country where the language is not English, you will probably have to get your divorce certificate, presuming you have one issued to you here in Australia translated into your new partner’s native language.

This is where a NAATI accredited translator comes in useful. Using an accredited document language translation service means that you can get your Getting Re-married Overseas? Have You Got an Officially Translated Divorce Certificate? and any other documents that may be useful to you in your adopted country translated correctly. You should also get the translator to make sure that he or she certifies your translation in the language required to show to any officialdom that it is a true and correct translation from the original English version. This may not be necessary of course, but you won’t want to hold up a wedding at the last minute just because you don’t have an acceptable piece of paper, would you?

Getting Re-married Overseas
The reverse situation is also just as important. If you meet a person overseas and intend marrying here in Australia, and that person is or was divorced, do make sure that they bring their divorce certificate with them. It is better in this case to get the certificate translated by a NAATI accredited translator here in Australia as the translation will be more readily accepted. Of course, this can usually be done online from overseas, but find out first if the original has to be sighted by the translator.

Use a NAATI Accredited Translator for Dealings with the ATO

If you have come to live in Australia from overseas, you will soon be dealing with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). The ATO will issue you with a tax number which you will need in many aspects of life in this country. For instance, if you want to start up a business you may need an Australian Business Number or at least to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST). If you are going to be employed, you will need an Australian Tax File number.

To register for any of these numbers you will have to show some documents to prove who you are and what your status is here in Australia. The most important document you will need for the ATO is your identification. If you were born overseas or have identification documents that were issued in any other language than English you will need a NAATI accredited translator to make sure they are translated correctly before registering.

Any original documents need to be translated first by a document translation service, then certified by them that it is a true copy of the original document. The ATO is quite fussy about the way the certified translation is presented to them, as they won’t accept a translation from any person without the copy being stamped (if one is available) and the translator’s name or company name and telephone contact details as well as the date of the translation recorded on the copy.
Your language translation services should know what the ATO requirements are and provide several copies of the translation for you with each one certified by the translator or a representative of the translation service. This is important not just for the ATO, but other organizations for which your document translation is needed because the translation document may never be returned to you for use elsewhere. In fact, the ATO quite clearly states that any certified translation which is sent to them when registering will not be returned to you after they have examined it.

Legal Deadlines Need Efficient Document Translation Service

The legal market today is one where deadlines are tight and documents are invariably complex. An efficient and experienced document translation service is vital when it comes to translating legal documents.

document translation service
Legal documents whatever the language in which they are written are often highly technical. They may contain sensitive material which is necessary for litigation. Contractual documentation, financial documents, infringement cases, judicial transcripts and statutes, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) material – all of these legal transactions may need to be translated into English or from English into any number of different languages by a NAATI accredited translator who is fully versed in the technical language typical of legal documents, not just as it is used here in Australia but in the country in which that language is used as well.

Legal Deadlines Need Efficient Document Translation Service
Mistakes in translation or interpretation of technical information can have severe consequences down the line. At the minimum, a small mistake in translation can mean delays in the implementation of an agreement or in the progress of a court process, for instance. In more extreme cases, the translation error can lead to a total breakdown in the process for which the documentation is being reviewed.

Whatever the legal documents that you need to get translated, it is important to choose language translation services that are fully versed in the sort of terminology used in legal documents as well as one that is able to respond to time pressures and deadlines.

Large document collections may need to be reduced in quantity so that you only get the documents translated that are actually relevant to the business at hand. This document culling is a cost effective solution to dealing with surplus information. Translation services of the calibre required are not cheap, so choosing a NAATI translator that is skilled in dealing with legal document collections is important.

Choose Your Legal Translator Carefully

A quick search on the internet will reveal numerous language translation services which are able to provide a legal document translation service. However, there is more to the translation of legal documents than a simple translation of the language. It is important that the translators have a good working knowledge of the subject material of what they are translating. This means that they should have relevant experience in the legal language they are translating and in the often complex regulations and laws of the country in which language they are performing a translation service.

Legal documents are written in a specific legal language and terminology. Whoever translates these documents needs to be thoroughly familiar with the terminology and language used in that country as well as that used in Australia. The consequences of even small mistakes in meaning can be financially damaging or even catastrophic if the translation is not effective. The recent case of an interpreter’s “mistake” in a court hearing in Queensland is an example of a situation that was unnecessarily caused by a poor translation.

Become-a-legal translator
Documents that are required in court need to be available according to exacting deadlines and where those documents were originally issued in a language other than English. A document translation service will be used by the international lawyer in order to be able to use the documents in court. Any delay or mistake in translating may mean that the document is considered null and void.

Visa Documents Translations – What You Need To Know

Working with a NAATI accredited translator can help to make the visa application process run much more smoothly.  Unless you have a strong reason for preferring a translator from one part of the country, for example a translator in Melbourne if you need local knowledge of that area, then NAATI accreditation is the key point to look for.

Rubber stamp - Visa

Translations and online applications

It is still possible to use a translator if you plan to make an online application.  You will simply have to copy and paste the translated document into the relevant parts of the application form.  At current time there are only some visas for which online application is possible although it is reasonable to assume that this will change in the future.  It’s worth noting that even online applications often need supporting documentation sent by snail mail.

Choosing a good translator

In translation terms a good translator is one who will convey your message clearly and accurately and who will make sure that they understand not only your words but also your intention before they convert them into English.  NAATI accreditation is a seal of approval for technical efficiency, the issue then becomes one of professionalism and reliability.  Unless there is a strong reason for preferring a translator from a particular geographical area, for example a translator in Melbourne if you intend to visit that area and may wish to use their services for other purposes, then you are free to check online for candidates and agencies who meet your requirements.  Word-of-mouth recommendations and client testimonials are much more valuable than rock-bottom prices.

Be ready to answer questions

A professional translator will want to create the best translation possible and will consider it vital that they completely understand your source text.  If they don’t they will want you to clarify it before they start to translate.  The more promptly you respond, the quicker and more accurately they will be able to translate your document.