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Western Australian Language Services Policy 2014 and Guidelines

Policy statement

The Western Australian Government is committed to providing accessible and responsive services to all Western Australians.

People who are not able to communicate effectively in written and/or spoken English may require language services, such as interpreting and translations, when accessing and using State Government services. This includes people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, Indigenous Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

This policy aims to ensure that all Western Australians have equitable access to information and services.

To implement this policy, Western Australian Government agencies will:

  • plan for, fund and deliver language services that take into account relevant government policies, legal circumstances and the particular profile and needs of current and potential clients
  • ensure clients who are not able to communicate in spoken and/or written English are made aware of:
    • their right to communicate in their preferred language
    • when and how to ask for an interpreter
    • complaints processes
  • provide interpreters who are certified by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), or tertiary qualified (preferably both) to clients where required, free of charge and taking into account the particular service provided and/or the level of risk to clients’ rights, health or safety
  • ensure all relevant staff are able to identify when to engage an interpreter and how to work with an interpreter
  • use multilingual communication strategies and the cultural and linguistic skills of employees where appropriate
  • incorporate provision for meeting language services needs in contractual arrangements with service providers.

Why language services are important

Language services, such as interpreting and translations, are vital to ensure that government services are accessible and responsive to the needs of all Western Australians.

Of all States and Territories, Western Australia has the largest proportion of people born overseas, accounting for 30.7 per cent of the population. Indigenous peoples constitute 3.1 per cent of the population.[1]

According to the 2011 Census, 14.5 per cent of the Western Australian population spoke a language other than English at home. Of these, 84.6 per cent said that they spoke English well or very well while 1.6 per cent stated that they did not speak English well or at all. The proportion of Western Australians who communicate through Australian Sign Language (Auslan) is 0.03 per cent.

Other groups who may not be able to communicate effectively in written and/or spoken English include people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, and Indigenous Australians.

Many migrants have strong English language skills but some have little or none. For some people the process of acquiring these skills takes some time. Some people, particularly those who arrived in Australia many years ago, may not have had the opportunity to participate in English language programs and may never develop a high level of proficiency in spoken or written English. For some older migrants their English language skills may regress as a result of the ageing process.

For many Indigenous peoples, particularly those who live in regional and remote Western Australia, English is their second, third, or even fourth language. While an Aboriginal language is the first language for many of them, for others, Aboriginal English, Pidgin, Kriol and Learner’s English is the first language. Although there are some common lexical features between these languages and Standard Australian English, they differ markedly from each other in sounds or accent, grammar, vocabulary, meaning, use and style. As a result, while a simple conversation may be possible, responses to complex questions, such as those that might relate to law or health, would be difficult. Some people may be proficient in spoken but not written English.

The table below shows the top 10 languages spoken at home in Western Australia for those people who did not speak English well, or at all, as at the 2011 Census.

Top 10 languages spoken at home in Western Australia for those people who did not speak English well, or at all
LanguageSpoke English not well or not at all
Mandarin5483
Vietnamese5166
Italian3993
Cantonese3573
Arabic2376
Korean1364
Spanish907
Serbian856
Karen849
Indonesian849

National and State legislation and policies (underpinned by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and related covenants) support a person’s rights to language services. There are also substantial risks associated with not providing language services, particularly in legal and health contexts.

For example, it is well recognised that a criminal trial cannot be fair if the accused does not understand the language in which it is conducted. The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) protects this right explicitly: the accused is entitled to ‘have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court’. [2] In the 1992 case of Dietrich v R, Justice Deane stated:

If, for example, available interpreter facilities, which were essential to enable the fair trial of an unrepresented person who could neither speak nor understand English, were withheld by the government, a trial judge would be entitled and obliged to postpone or stay the trial and an appellate court would, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, be entitled and obliged to quash any conviction entered after such an inherently unfair trial.[3]

This was reiterated by the Western Australian Chief Justice, the Hon Wayne Martin, who is quoted in the 2010 WA Equal Opportunity Commission report into the need for an Indigenous Interpreting Service, as saying:

If the trial of an alleged offender occurs in circumstances in which that person is unable to comprehend the course of the trial because, for example, of an inability with English and the lack of an interpreter, the trial process is unfair and any judgement obtained would be set aside. The provision of adequate interpreting services for Aboriginal people is therefore an essential pre-requisite to the capacity of the courts of this State to deliver justice.[4]

The provision of interpreting services in health settings is similarly crucial. Failure to use an interpreter may result in misdiagnosis, a client misunderstanding a health practitioner’s advice, or the client being unable to give informed consent to treatment because they do not understand the nature and associated risks of a treatment or procedure.

For example, cases have been cited in which a 35-year-old Afghan refugee died and two clients had procedures undertaken on the wrong body parts because an interpreter was not provided.[5] Failure to engage a qualified interpreter was considered by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now Australian Human Rights Commission) to be a contributing factor to the involuntary committing of a Bosnian refugee with an intellectual disability who was misdiagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder.[6]

There are legal implications associated with failure to use an interpreter when required. For example, a health practitioner may be liable for negligence if they carry out a procedure on a client without first obtaining the client’s informed consent and the client suffers an adverse outcome. Hospitals and other health care providers may be vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees performed during the course of their employment. A hospital may subsequently be liable to compensate a client if the client succeeds in an action for negligence against a practitioner. [7]

It is therefore imperative that WA public sector staff have the skills to determine when interpreters and translators should be used, based on the legislative requirement, particular service provided, the duty of care to a client and the level of risk to clients’ rights, health or safety.

  1. [1] All statistics are drawn from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census. Some population groups may be under-represented in these figures.
  2. [2] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article 14(3)(f).
  3. [3] Dietrich v R (1992) 177 CLR 292 at 331.
  4. [4] Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission (2010) ‘Indigenous Interpreting Service—Is there a need?’ p. 4
  5. [5] Quoted in Foundation House (2012) Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to the Use of Qualified Interpreters in Health Discussion Paper April 2012 p. 21; see: Bird, S (2010) ‘Failure to use an interpreter’, Australian Family Physician, Vol 39 (4), p. 241 and Department of Human Services (2004) Sentinel event program: annual report 2003–04, p. 24.
  6. [6] Quoted in Foundation House (2012) op cit, p. 21.
  7. [7] ibid p. 24.

Legislation and policy

A range of legislation and policies underpins this policy.

National

Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986

The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (formerly called the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986) established the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now known as the Australian Human Rights Commission) and gives it functions in relation to a number of international instruments including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In addition, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner has specific functions under the Act and the Native Title Act 1993 to monitor the human rights of Indigenous people.

Racial Discrimination Act 1975

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) gives effect to Australia’s obligations under the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Australia has ratified. It aims to ensure that Australians of all backgrounds are treated equally and have the same opportunities. TheAct makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, colour, descent, nationality or their origin, and immigration status.

Section 9 of the Act states that:

It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) makes disability discrimination unlawful in many areas of public life, such as employment, education and access to premises and aims to promote equal rights, opportunity and access for people with disabilities. An agency can discriminate against a person by imposing an unreasonable requirement or condition that they participate in a process without the assistance of an interpreter or translator.

Under section 31 of the Act the Attorney-General may make Disability Standards to specify rights and responsibilities about equal access and opportunity for people with a disability, in more detail and with more certainty than the Act itself provides. The Disability Standards for Education (2005), which are a form of delegated legislation, clarify and make more explicit the obligations of education and training service providers under the Act and the rights of people with disabilities in relation to education and training.

Under the Act and Standards employers and education providers are required to make reasonable adjustments for employees and students with disabilities, to enable them to participate in training, education and the workplace on the same basis as other people. This includes the provision of interpreters and translators. For example, a person who is hard of hearing may need to be placed in a position where they can clearly see the lips of the people present or be provided with a sign language interpreter.

Accessible Government Services for All (2006)

‘Accessible Government Services for All’ is the performance management framework for the Australian Government’s access and equity strategy. The framework is based on four key principles:

  • Responsiveness—the extent to which programs and services are accessible, fair and responsive to the individual needs of clients
  • Communication—open and effective channels of communication with all stakeholders
  • Accountability—effective and transparent reporting and review mechanisms
  • Leadership—a whole-of-government approach to management of issues arising from Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse society.

National Indigenous Reform Agreement (2008)

The National Indigenous Reform Agreement (known as ‘Closing the Gap’) was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in November 2008.

One of the schedules to the agreement relates to service delivery principles for programs and services for Indigenous Australians. One of these principles requires programs and services to be physically and culturally accessible to Indigenous people, recognising the diversity of urban, regional and remote needs.

State

Equal Opportunity Act 1984

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) provides a legislative mechanism to:

  • eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, breastfeeding, family responsibility or family status, race, religious or political conviction, impairment, age or gender history in the areas of work, accommodation, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, access to places and vehicles, land and the membership of clubs
  • eliminate sexual and racial harassment in the workplace, educational institutions and accommodation
  • promote community recognition and acceptance of the equality of men and women, and the equality of people of all races, regardless of their religious or political convictions, their impairments or their age.

An agency could discriminate against a person by imposing an unreasonable requirement or condition that they participate in a process or activity without the assistance of an interpreter or translator.

Western Australian Disability Services Act 1993

The Disability Services Act 1993 sets the legislative framework for the:

  • establishment and functions of the Disability Services Commission
  • provisions relating to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability
  • complaints mechanisms for disability services
  • provisions for the delivery and funding of specialist disability services
  • the principles and objectives that guide service delivery for people with a disability.

The Act promotes an accessible and socially inclusive community through the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan framework requirements of State and Local Government Authorities. It also enables Western Australia to meet its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Policy Framework for Substantive Equality

The objective of The Policy Framework for Substantive Equality is to achieve substantive equality in the Western Australian public sector by:

  • eliminating systemic racial discrimination in the provision of public sector services
  • promoting sensitivity to the different needs of client groups.

To achieve this, Western Australian public sector agencies are responsible for ensuring the policy framework is integral to service delivery and to:

  • monitor the implementation of policies and programs and ensure they meet the diverse needs of the people of Western Australia
  • ensure that staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to address issues of systemic racism.

Office of Multicultural Interests Strategic Plan 2014–18

The Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI) Strategic Plan 2014–18 articulates a vision of an inclusive and cohesive society that draws on its cultural and linguistic diversity to enhance the social, economic, cultural and civic development of Western Australia and the wellbeing of all community members.

The plan has four objectives:

  • Strengthen the capacity of culturally diverse communities.
  • Support the development of culturally inclusive policies, programs and services.
  • Facilitate full participation by culturally diverse communities in social, economic, cultural and civic activities.
  • Develop intercultural understanding and promote the benefits of Western Australia’s cultural diversity.

A key strategy is to develop policy, guidelines and tools to increase cultural competency and encourage the delivery of language services.

Note: Many State Government agencies have their own language services policy that customises the State policy and guidelines to their operations.

Interpreting

Assessing the need for an interpreter

All Western Australian public sector staff should make an initial assessment of whether any communication with a client is significant enough to require the use of interpreting services.

Where the assessment indicates it is warranted, public sector agencies should provide an interpreter where a person has difficulty communicating in English.

If a person requests an interpreter, or shows a Western Australian Government or Department of Social Services Interpreter Card, they should be provided with one.

The ‘I need an interpreter’ card aims to help clients request an interpreter and makes it easier for staff in government agencies to arrange for an interpreter in the appropriate language.

Western Australian interperter card

If a person presents an ‘I need an Interpreter’ card:

  • check the language on the front of the card
  • inform the client that you will arrange for an interpreter
  • arrange an interpreter, following your agency’s policy or guidelines on how to do so
  • make a note in the client’s file (if relevant) to assist with arranging an interpreter on any subsequent visit.

The language your client speaks will be written in English on the front of the card. However, more than one language may be written on the card. This means the cardholder is proficient in each of these languages. It is important to make every effort to arrange an interpreter in the client’s first language. If this is not possible you may be able to engage an interpreter in one of the other languages listed.

If the client does not have an ‘I need an Interpreter’ card it may be difficult to assess whether a person needs an interpreter. The ability to speak English does not necessarily mean that a person will understand complex language. For example, a client who has sufficient English to organise a parking permit, for example, may not have sufficient English to understand the implications of a complex medical procedure.

Other people may not need an interpreter but may require written information to be translated or need assistance with writing in English. In the case of Auslan users, the majority will be comfortable reading and writing in English but will need an interpreter for face-to-face communication.

To help you decide whether or not a person needs an interpreter you may:

  • ask a question that requires a person to answer in a sentence
  • give the person a set of information and ask them to repeat this in their own words.

Be aware of the risks of gratuitous concurrence, which occurs when a person nods to acknowledge you (similar to ‘aha’, ‘hmm’ or ‘uh-huh’). This does not necessarily mean agreement to what is said and may not even indicate that the person understands what has been said to them. If there is any doubt about a person’s ability to communicate or understand English, an interpreter should be engaged.

Engaging an interpreter will be critical in some circumstances, such as:

  • appearances in courts/tribunals
  • obtaining informed consent (for example, for health, mental health or aged care assessment)
  • conveying complex or vital health information
  • swearing of affidavits or statutory declarations.

If a face-to-face interpreter is not available then, if appropriate, you could:

  • access an interpreter via telephone, videoconference or video calling
  • make an appointment for your client to come back later and arrange for an interpreter to be available then
  • provide written information in a language the client can read, if it is available
  • use a bilingual staff member who speaks the client’s language, if one is available, to gather some basic information and/or to help arrange an appointment with an interpreter.

Note that bilingual staff are not interpreters and should only be used to convey simple information. They may not have the language skills required for a particular situation and are not bound by a professional code of ethics requiring confidentiality, impartiality and accuracy.

Clients may ask to use a family member or friend to interpret for them. This is not recommended as they may be emotionally involved, and may lack the necessary skills and impartiality. They are not bound by the same standards of conduct, such as maintaining confidentiality, as interpreters. However, providing the action does not compromise the service being provided, and does not expose the State of Western Australia and its agencies to legal liability, a family member or friend (over the age of 18) may be used in urgent situations or for basic communication exchanges. For example, in an emergency such as a car accident involving police and paramedics, a family member might provide initial information on behalf of a person but an appropriate NAATI certified or tertiary qualified interpreter should be sought immediately before further discussions are held.

Persons under the age of 18 years who are not tertiary qualified or NAATI certified interpreters must not be engaged for any bilingual communication exchange.

In all cases where a person other than an interpreter has been used, details of the decision and the circumstances justifying that decision should be documented to address any potential liability issues.

Paying for interpreters

State Government agencies are responsible for ensuring language services, including paying for interpreters, are considered in annual budgeting processes. This includes client-initiated contact. Clients of Western Australian Government agencies do not pay for interpreting services.

The Western Australian Language Services Policy 2013 requires WA public sector agencies to incorporate language services needs in contractual arrangements with funded organisations.

Circular to Departments and Authorities No. 5 of 1994—Language Allowance provides for Western Australian Government agencies to pay a special allowance to employees who provide interpreting or translating services for their employer in addition to their normal duties. However, the allowance is no longer included in the Public Sector and Government Officers General Agreement 2011.

Types of interpreting

There are three types of interpreting services available in Western Australia:

  • on-site
  • telephone
  • videoconferencing/Skype.

On-site interpreting

On-site interpreting occurs when an interpreter attends in person and should generally be used in situations where complex, sensitive or lengthy matters need to be discussed.

On-site interpreters offer a face-to-face service by facilitating both non-verbal and verbal communication. This can provide a broader understanding of the information than telephone interpreting, where the interpreter cannot see either the client or staff member. (Note, however, that caution needs to be exercised to ensure no miscommunication occurs as a result of cultural misunderstandings of non-verbal cues.)

On-site interpreting is generally more expensive than other interpreting options and requires advance notice, particularly where interpreters are required to travel long distances.

On-site interpreting is undertaken in the form of either consecutive interpretation or simultaneous interpretation.

Consecutive interpretation—in which the interpreter listens, converts and reproduces the original message after the speaker or signer pauses. It is also generally bidirectional in nature where the interpreter conveys messages back and forth between two languages.

Simultaneous interpretation—in which the interpreter listens (or, in the case of Auslan interpreters, watches), converts and reproduces a message while the speaker continues to speak or sign. This often involves the use of headphones in a context where the person is speaking or signing to a group. Use of simultaneous interpretation generally occurs at conferences.

Other forms of interpreting include:

Multidirectional interpretation—in which two or more languages are interpreted and where the interpreter may relay messages back and forth between more than two languages—for example, where an interpreter can speak three languages and three individuals require interpretation in each of their languages.

Unidirectional interpretation—where an interpreter conveys a message from one language to another only. This may occur where information is being conveyed to an audience.

Sight translating—involves the oral translation of a text. For example, an interpreter at a press conference might be handed a prepared statement in English and asked to read it aloud in the target language.

Relay interpretation—where one language is interpreted into a second language, and the second language is the basis of an interpretation into a third language—for example, where English is interpreted into Arabic which provides the basis of interpreting a message into Dari. Relay interpretation should only be used in exceptional circumstances when interpreters with the required language combination cannot be found.

Deaf relay interpreting—involves use of a range of communication skills and knowledge to address complex situations and the needs of particular client groups. For example, a person may be both Deaf and blind, or be Deaf and suffer dementia. It could include Deaf people who are Indigenous or speak a language other than English.

A Deaf Relay Interpreter (DRI) is an interpreter who is Deaf or hard of hearing and fluent in Auslan. The DRI usually works with an Auslan interpreter to connect the hearing and Deaf clients. The Auslan interpreter works between English and Auslan and the DRI bridges the gap between Auslan and the Deaf client’s particular communication style as needed. In very challenging situations, the DRI and Auslan interpreter may work together to understand a Deaf person’s message, conferring with each other to arrive at the best interpretation, before the Auslan interpreter translates it into English.

A DRI is highly recommended in situations where misunderstandings can result in especially serious outcomes. For example, a DRI should be used in the courts, by the police when interviewing victims, witnesses or suspects who are Deaf; or in mental health settings where clear and accurate communication assists professionals in determining correct medication or other interventions. Child protection workers may need to use a DRI to ensure communication is as effective as possible.

Telephone interpreting

Telephone interpreting may be particularly useful in emergency situations when immediate assistance is needed. It may be less expensive and more anonymous than on-site interpreting and can provide access to a wider pool of interpreters. It is also more widely used in remote or regional areas.

Telephone interpreters can also be used to establish the language spoken and the nature of an enquiry before an on-site interpreter is engaged. Telephone interpreting can be pre-booked and, after a minimum period, is generally charged per 15 minutes.

Telephone interpreting is not suitable for interviews of a sensitive or complex nature, such as mental health or legal matters. Some clients, such as older people, may not be comfortable using the telephone for interpreting.

Telephone interpreting also does not allow for non-verbal signals.

It is not suitable:

  • when forms need to be completed
  • For Auslan users or people who are hard of hearing. In these instances, agencies can make use of TTY, a teletype system over a phone-line appliance where the message is not spoken, but typed, and appears in type when received.

Videoconference

Videoconference and Skype are alternatives where on-site interpreting is not available. They are useful in rural and regional locations where it is difficult to access on-site interpreting services or meet the associated travel costs.

Videoconference interpreting uses an interpreter to deliver a service through video link. This enables large groups of people to take part in a discussion and can be organised at short notice where the necessary facilities are available. Skype is more suited to smaller groups.

Videoconferencing technology is available in many locations including through the Western Australian Telecentre Network, hospitals, registered training organisations, local governments and courts.

Disadvantages include:

  • some people lacking the knowledge or confidence to use the required technology
  • not all agencies having access to videoconferencing facilities
  • additional telecommunications costs
  • possible confusion for mental health patients
  • challenges for both the interpreter and participants in relation to:
    • quality of sound and vision
    • reliability of the communication link
    • vision being blocked by movement.

Video calling

Video calling allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video (by using a webcam) and instant messaging over the internet. It can be used via a desktop computer, laptop or tablet (iPad) or via some mobile telephones. The technology is therefore readily available and does not require a high degree of technical proficiency to operate.

A number of providers offer facilities, such as Skype, Face Flow, Friend Caller, ooVoo and Google video.

Usage relies on the availability of internet access and, if using a mobile telephone, the availability of networks in rural and remote areas. Slower connections can result in unreliable connections and poor quality reception and is therefore not the ideal interpreting option.

Interpreting sessions using these facilities should be limited to small groups and, in the case of mobile telephones, a maximum of two people.

Working with an interpreter on-site

Finding an interpreter

The Department of Finance has developed a Common Use Arrangement (CUA) for Interpreting and Translating Services, CUAITS2012, to provide services to Western Australian Government agencies, Public Benevolent Institutions and other users approved by the State Supply Commission. Agencies and approved users may ‘pick and buy’ from the contractors on the CUA.

The CUA covers three categories:

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse languages
  • Indigenous Australian languages
  • Auslan (Australian Sign Language).

Further information and an order form can be obtained from the Department of Finance ContractWA website at http://www.contractswa.finance.wa.gov.au.

Agencies are strongly encouraged to utilise the CUA, however, where not practical or reasonable for operational purposes, agencies may buy off contract. In this case, certified interpreters can be found using the NAATI Online Directory of credentialed practitioners of interpreting and translating which is available at www.naati.com.au. Professional associations also maintain online directories available at www.ausit.org or www.waiti.org.au. You could also contact IPIA at: http://ipiawa.wordpress.com. Professional interpreting and translating services are also listed in the Yellow Pages. Note that commitment to a professional, accurate and quality service is best assured through working with tertiary qualified and/or NAATI certified interpreters. For information on interpreting qualifications and NAATI credentials see pages 39–44.

Before contacting the interpreting and translating service

The nature of the situation will impact on the desired level of qualification or credential. Complex situations, which may have serious implications for the person and the public sector agency, should be undertaken by the most qualified interpreter available.

In most cases, the interpreting and translating service will be in a position to assess the qualification or credential level required for a particular situation. It is therefore critical that as much information as possible about the assignment is provided when requesting an interpreter.

The following are some points to consider. The CUA Buyers Guide includes an appropriate order form. See: www.contractswa.finance.wa.gov.au.

Situation
  • Subject matter and purpose of the event
  • Domain—for example, community, business, diplomatic
  • Setting—such as health, law, education (be as specific as possible; for example, if it is a health setting, whether it is an emergency department, operating room or home health visit)
  • Type of event (for example, interview, meeting, court appearance, conference)
    • for court requests, a list of all parties involved in the case will assist an interpreter to determine whether to accept or reject the assignment to avoid cultural conflict
    • for medical or legal cases, specific details about the case will assist an interpreter to determine whether to accept or reject an assignment, based on the sex of the patient/client and cultural appropriateness of the subject matter
  • Length and nature of the assignment in case, for occupational health and safety reasons, more than one interpreter is needed.
Client
  • Number of people requiring interpreting services
  • Client/s community/ies
  • Language/s spoken, including any regional variation, by clients. It may be important to identify the country of birth. For example, Arabic spoken in Somalia and Sudan will be different from Arabic spoken in Iraq or Lebanon.
  • Client/s preferred interpreter/s
  • Cultural, religious and/or gender issues
  • Age of client/s
  • If the client is Indigenous, their skin group.
Location
  • Correct address for the assignment (and map/details if required)
  • Available parking.
Technical/administrative requirements
  • Mode of interpreting (consecutive or simultaneous)
  • Special needs (for example, appropriate seating of interpreters and clients/participants or technical requirements such as microphones)
  • Your agency’s reference/cost centre/order or client number (if relevant).

Your agency may have guidelines about booking procedures, a preferred interpreter provider or an in-house interpreter service. Follow these guidelines when making a booking.

Before the session

  • Allow sufficient time for the session—generally, double the amount of time you would require if not engaging an interpreter.
  • Prior to the session, brief the interpreter so that they are aware of the aim and nature of the session and anything specific that may arise.
  • If the session is expected to be lengthy or involve complex matters, provide any relevant written material prior to the session so that the interpreter can be adequately prepared.
  • If the assignment is expected to be lengthy, regular breaks should be negotiated beforehand. It may be necessary to have two or more interpreters working in tandem. It is best to check with the interpreting and translating service.
  • Consider whether the nature of the interview makes it important for the client and interpreter to be separated if required to wait before a session.

Setting up

For spoken languages, an interpreter should be positioned in front of you and the client. It is preferable to use a triangle arrangement, as below.

interpreter positioned in front of you and the client in a triangle arrangement.

For Auslan interpreters, the interpreter should be seated beside you so that the client can see both you and the interpreter.

interpreter seated beside you so that the client can see you both in a triangle arrangement.

For Deaf relay interpreters, the following seating arrangement should be used:

 a rectangle arrangement with the interpreter positioned alongside the client with you and the deaf relay interpreter sitting facing the client

During the session

  • If the client(s) has not used an interpreter before, begin by explaining the role of the interpreter and how the session will be conducted.
  • Stress that the interpreter’s role is only to convey information and that they must adhere to strict confidentiality requirements. Face the client and not the interpreter.
  • Avoid speaking to the interpreter and excluding the client/s. Direct all questions to the client/s and not to the interpreter. For example, say ‘How can I help you?’ not ‘How can I help him/her?’
  • Be helpful to the interpreter—for example, some terms may be difficult to interpret and may need clarification.
  • Use simple language and avoid using colloquialisms, idioms, technical language and acronyms.
  • Give the client/s an opportunity to provide feedback to ensure that the pace is appropriate and that the interpreter or client/s can seek clarification if necessary.
  • Give adequate time to the interpreter: speak in short, concise sentences.
  • Provide frequent pauses between sentences—give three or four sentences at a time to enable the interpreter to adequately remember, convey and interpret what was said. Provide regular breaks in the session—it is recommended that breaks are offered every 15–25 minutes for Auslan interpreters and every 20 minutes for others. Ensure that everything that is said during the interview is interpreted, even if it seems unimportant or irrelevant.
  • Be conscious of how well the session is going. If at any time you or your client are not satisfied with the interpreter, it is better to end the meeting.

Completing the session

  • Check that the client has understood the key information.
  • Provide time for questions.
  • It is not recommended that a client and an interpreter leave the meeting at the same time as this may impact on the appropriate professional distance between the interpreter and client.
  • Debrief the interpreter/s after the session and clarify any questions you may have, but not to ascertain further information about the client.

Working with a telephone interpreter

Before the assignment

  • Determine whether the subject matter to be discussed can be appropriately dealt with by telephone.
  • Organise appropriate equipment and a suitable room.
  • Ensure that you are in a quiet environment with minimal noise and other distractions.
  • If you have the client with you and are engaging a telephone interpreter, ensure that appropriate handsets, speaker phone or dual handsets are organised.
  • Allow adequate time for the interpreting to take place.
  • Be clear about the information to be provided or sought before beginning so that this can be communicated clearly to the interpreter.

During the interview

  • Introduce yourself to the interpreter.
  • Brief the interpreter about the aim, context and situation for the telephone call.
  • Let the interpreter know if you have a
    • single handset telephone
    • dual handset telephone
    • conference telephone.
  • Describe where you are—for example, counter, office, hospital ward.
  • When beginning the conversation, introduce yourself and the interpreter to the client and explain what will be discussed.
  • Ask direct questions and speak in short sentences. Avoid using colloquialisms, idioms, technical language and acronyms.
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace.

Completing the interview

  • Clearly indicate to all parties when the session is complete.
  • Provide the interpreter with an opportunity to debrief following the interpreting session, particularly if the matter has been complex or sensitive.

Quality control and quality assurance

Quality control is a procedure(s) intended to ensure that a product or service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria or meets specified requirements.

Quality assurance is the systematic process of checking that a product or service has met or will meet specified requirements and contributes to continuous improvement.

The following guidelines are provided for WA public sector agencies to support the provision of quality interpreting services.

Quality control in interpreting

Quality control is a shared responsibility between the government agency, interpreting and translating service and interpreter. There are three key areas in which government agencies play a key role in maximising the quality of the interpreting service that is provided:

  • ensuring staff are trained in the use of interpreters
  • matching practitioner competence to task
  • implementing processes that support delivery of a quality product.

This involves actions undertaken before, during and after an interpreting assignment as well as addressing systemic issues at a whole-of-agency level.

Staff training

Ensuring all relevant staff are trained in working with interpreters and translators is fundamental to the delivery of quality interpreting services. Training will enable staff to:

  • assess the need for an interpreter
  • the tertiary qualifications and/or NAATI certification levels required for different situations
  • how to use an interpreter to support delivery of a quality outcome.
Matching practitioner to task

While it is the role of the interpreting and translating service to match an interpreter to the assignment, government agencies have a responsibility to provide all relevant information to assist this process. This involves:

  • defining the setting and providing adequate job specifications
  • assessing interpreter credentials or qualifications required and confirming these prior to commencement of the assignment.
Define the setting and job specifications

The setting will determine the skills required of an interpreter. When requesting an interpreter it is therefore important to provide detailed information to the interpreting and translating service (see pages 20–21).

Assess and confirm the qualifications or credentials of the interpreter

The setting for the interpreting assignment helps determine the tertiary qualifications and/or NAATI certification levels appropriate to the job prior to engaging the services of an interpreter. See pages 39–44 for guidance.

Interpreters should not be placed in a position in which they are required to work beyond their level of competence. The information you provide when defining the setting will help the interpreting and translating service to identify an appropriately qualified or certified interpreter for the task. If possible, confirm the practitioner’s NAATI certification level and/or tertiary qualifications prior to commencement of the assignment.

Supporting delivery of a quality product

WA public sector agencies can support delivery of a quality product by providing the practitioner with:

  • any relevant documentation before the assignment
  • pre- and post-interview briefings
  • technical tools and resources appropriate to the task
  • a safe, healthy environment.
Documentation

If possible, provide the interpreter with any relevant documentation in advance, particularly in specialised fields such as law and health. In such cases, the interpreter may wish to research the subject and prepare a glossary of terms to assist them with the assignment.

This is also relevant for large meetings or conferences that include agendas, papers or scripted presentations.

Pre- and post-interview briefings

Interpreting is a physically and mentally demanding task. Some assignments may involve emotionally charged content and traumatic situations. These factors should be taken into consideration when scheduling interpreters. Additional time may be needed for briefing and debriefing.

It is also important to ensure that the client is aware of the role of the interpreter prior to commencement.

Technical tools and resources

The technical equipment required will vary according to the mode of interpreting and may include microphones or headsets for large group settings, speakerphones for telephone interpreting and videoconferencing facilities.

A safe and healthy environment

Consideration should be given to ensuring that interpreters have a safe environment conducive to quality work. This includes:

  • regular breaks—it is recommended that breaks in the session are offered every 15–25 minutes for Auslan interpreters and every 20 minutes for others
  • engaging additional interpreters for lengthy or complex assignments
  • acoustics—it is important for the interpreter to hear the speaker well, particularly in the case of large meetings, conferences and telephone interpreting (for this reason, mobile telephones are not recommended)
  • visibility—non-verbal communication is an important component of spoken interpreting and is essential for signed language interpretation
  • adequate seating, water and rest breaks for long assignments
  • any protective clothing and equipment necessary for the situation
  • ensuring that a practitioner is not required to work in situations or circumstances that are beyond their competence.

Where there is a potential risk to their health and wellbeing, interpreters should be afforded the same protective measures as those provided for the agency officer.

Quality assurance in interpreting

Agencies may establish quality assurance measures such as:

  • including quality assurance requirements in contractual arrangements
  • monitoring the quality of interpreting services
  • evaluating the quality of interpreting services.
Contractual arrangements

Agencies should include quality assurance requirements in any contractual arrangements they have with:

  • interpreting and translating services
  • service providers in receipt of agency funding.

These should cover requirements in relation to:

  • practitioners’ tertiary qualifications/NAATI certification levels
  • a commitment to engaging practitioners who adhere to professional codes of ethics
  • transparent and accessible complaints processes.

Interpreting and translating services included as providers through the Common Use Arrangement for Interpreting and Translating (CUAITS2012) are required to adhere to quality assurance arrangements detailed in their contracts.

Monitoring

Agencies can monitor the use of interpreting services by:

  • obtaining feedback on the outcome of the service from staff, clients and practitioners
  • providing regular feedback to the Department of Finance if using the CUA
  • instituting effective complaints processes that:
    • are accessible and visible to staff, clients and practitioners, including translated information where relevant
    • are prompt and appropriately implemented
    • are reviewed and adapted as required.
Evaluation

Agencies can evaluate their use of interpreters. This could include an assessment of information gathered through the monitoring process.

Translating

Choosing languages for translations of public documents

Choosing the languages for translations of material produced for public use includes consideration of a number of factors including the purpose of the communication and target audience.

Purpose

Translation needs will vary depending on the purpose of the communication. For example, producing a standard list of the most commonly spoken community languages may be an appropriate strategy when prioritising translations aimed at a general readership. In this case a review of cultural and linguistic data for the State or a local government area available on the Office of Multicultural Interest’s website may provide sufficient information on which to base a choice of languages. Analysing relevant demographic data is therefore important.

However, the number of potential clients using a particular language is not the only relevant factor. For example, the languages spoken by more established CaLD communities will be relevant for translations of information targeting older people. Information about ante-natal and post-natal issues, on the other hand, is likely to be more relevant for new and emerging communities.

Consultation with relevant individuals and organisations can provide useful insights into the need for, and relevance of, translated materials for particular individuals and communities. For example:

  • some clients who do not need an interpreter for verbal communication may still prefer written information to be translated
  • smaller, recently arrived communities are likely to have fewer alternative information sources, such as internet access and community networks, than established communities.

Target audience

Written communication is not appropriate for some groups. For example:

  • there is no written form of Auslan
  • some people may not be literate in their preferred language, such as people from countries with oral traditions and many Indigenous people living in remote communities
  • some languages do not have a written form or have had a written form for only a short period of time and therefore have no history of using written text for information.

Identifying existing translations

If the purpose of the translations is to provide information, it may be worthwhile checking whether there are existing translations on the same topic that may be suitable, or would be suitable with minor changes. Places to check for existing translations include:

  • multicultural or diversity areas within government departments
  • peak bodies
  • interstate organisations performing similar functions to those of your own organisation.

Many organisations have made existing translations available on the internet and agencies are increasingly developing electronic libraries of translated information that can be accessed externally.
Always check the accuracy of translated information before it is used and seek formal approval from the author or authorising person before reproducing or amending their work.

Accessing translating services

The Department of Finance has developed a Common Use Arrangement (CUA) for Interpreting and Translating Services, CUAITS2012, to provide services to Western Australian Government agencies, Public Benevolent Institutions and other users approved by the State Supply Commission (see page 20).

Note that commitment to professional, accurate and quality service is best assured through working with tertiary qualified and/or NAATI credentialed translators. For information on translating qualifications and NAATI credentials see pages 39–44.

Obtaining a quote for translation services

Fees for translating services will vary according to:

  • the complexity of the material
  • whether checking, editing and proofreading by another certified or qualified translator is needed
  • the timeframe for the assignment
  • whether the format is provided as a hard or electronic copy.

Prepare a list of questions to ask when obtaining a quotation. You may also wish to clarify:

  • the tertiary qualification/NAATI certification level required for the assignment
  • what fees would apply if changes are made to the English text
  • whether the translating agency has provided similar services to other government agencies.

Provide detailed specifications such as:

  • subject area (for example, health, education, law, agriculture, employment)
  • type (for example, letter, contract, information brochure)
  • purpose (for example, to inform, advise, promote, legally bind)
  • target audience—including language spoken and country of origin
  • format and style, such as electronic or hard copy or any desktop publishing requirements
  • any legal and ethical requirements, such as copyright and confidentiality issues
  • timelines
  • editing and proofreading requirements.

Translating process

Most translating service providers offer a range of services including:

  • basic translations
  • checking of text
  • editing translations for publication
  • multilingual desktop publishing and design and e-translations
  • preparation of quality hardcopies suitable for printing.

Interpreting and translating services should be able to provide the final translation in hard and/or electronic copy. If you receive the final translation electronically, specify the file type needed. Unless your computer system has multilingual software, you may have difficulty with electronic files containing foreign language characters, such as Chinese or Arabic scripts. This difficulty can be avoided by asking for documents in PDF format. You may also need to reconfigure your computer or check that the computer and printer memory is sufficient to download and print documents in other language scripts or fonts.

Preparing text for translations

Ensure that the original document is written in English that is clear, concise and as simple as possible. This will assist a wide variety of clients including those with limited English literacy or other comprehension difficulties. It will also be of great assistance to a translator.

It is important that the content takes into account the cultural and religious backgrounds of the target audience. Consultation with relevant community organisations, service providers or focus groups will help determine the appropriateness of the content before it is translated.

Monitoring production

Government agencies have a role in monitoring the production of the translation by:

  • reviewing the specifications agreement before commencement of the assignment
  • clarifying any terminology and providing any reference materials and glossaries of terms
  • providing the contact details of a staff member to whom queries can be directed during the course of the assignment
  • providing suitable working conditions if the assignment is being carried out on-site
  • identifying each version of the document with a version number, a time and date and marking changes
  • checking that the document/s have been edited and proofread.

Checking and finalising translations

It is important to ensure that the document does not contain inaccuracies or incorrect information. It is recommended that the translation is edited and then checked by another tertiary qualified or NAATI certified translator. This checking can be requested through the original interpreting and translating service or arranged through another service.

Producing and distributing translated information

The effectiveness of any translated information depends on how well it is disseminated and how many of the target audience have access to the material.

Relevant community organisations, leaders, networks and service providers, religious networks, community service providers, Indigenous and ethnic media (both print and radio) and peak associations are good channels for dissemination of translated documents or promotion of their availability.

Translations on the internet

It is difficult and inappropriate to communicate with many groups, such as newly arrived refugees or the less literate, through the internet or electronic media. However, many young people access information online and this is an effective way of disseminating information to relevant groups in their communities.

Translated information on government websites can be printed out and provided to clients. It is also less expensive to update and revise translated information on the website than it is to print revisions.

Quality control and quality assurance

Quality control is a procedure(s) intended to ensure that a product or service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria or meets specified requirements.

Quality assurance is the systematic process of checking that a product or service has met or will meet specified requirements and contributes to continuous improvement.

The following guidelines are provided for WA public sector agencies to support the provision of quality translating services.

Quality control in translating

Quality in translation relates to the production of a text in another language based on a source text and agreed specifications.

Translations are needed for different purposes and audiences. This places different demands on translators and requires different skill sets. Translations include:

  • polished texts—such as marketing materials, books and legally binding documents
  • information—such as emails and documents for personal use
  • ‘gisting’ and abstracts—such as summaries of research documents.

Quality control in translating therefore includes writing clear specifications and ensuring that they are adhered to during the translation process.

There are three key areas in which government agencies play a crucial role in maximising the quality of the translating service that is provided:

  • providing clear specifications
  • monitoring the production process
  • ensuring that translations are checked by a second tertiary qualified or NAATI certified translator.

Specifications

Selection of a translator will depend on the:

  • language for translation, including the source country of the target audience
  • nature of the task.

Government agencies have a role in achieving a quality product by providing detailed specifications to the booking agency. These include:

  • subject area (for example, health, education, law, agriculture, employment)
  • type (for example, letter, contract, information brochure)
  • purpose (for example, to inform, advise, promote, legally bind)
  • target audience—including language spoken and country of origin
  • format and style, such as electronic or hardcopy or any desktop publishing requirements
  • any legal and ethical requirements, such as copyright and confidentiality issues
  • timelines
  • editing and proofreading requirements.

Monitoring the process

Government agencies have a role in monitoring the production of the translation by:

  • reviewing the specifications agreement before commencement of the assignment
  • clarifying any terminology and providing any reference materials and glossaries of terms
  • providing suitable working conditions if the assignment is being carried out on-site
  • identifying each version of the document with a version number, a time and date and marking changes
  • checking that the document/s have been edited and proofread, including following any typesetting.

Quality assurance in translating

Agencies may wish to:

  • arrange for an additional review by a NAATI certified or tertiary qualified third party
  • have the document translated back into English as an additional check
  • conduct a post-project review comparing the product with the original project specifications.

Qualifications and credentials

The Western Australian Language Services Policy recognises that an interpreter or translator may have obtained:

  • university qualifications in interpreting or translating—for example, a bachelor’s degree—or vocational education and training ((VET) qualifications from a State training provider (such as a TAFE college)—for example, a diploma
  • certification issued by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

Ideally, practitioners will have both qualifications and NAATI certification.

For languages of some Indigenous and new and emerging communities, a tertiary qualification or NAATI certification may not be available. In such cases, interpreters or translators may have received NAATI recognition or, in the case of Indigenous interpreters, be registered by the Kimberly Interpreting Service.

The qualification and certification levels will reflect interpreters’ and translators’ skills at different levels of complexity. When booking an interpreter or translator, the public sector agency should request the booking agency provide a practitioner with the qualifications or certification levels appropriate to the task. WA public sector awareness of the relevant skills required for various circumstances will contribute to agencies’ quality control processes.

Tertiary qualifications

Australia has a national policy for regulating tertiary qualifications in the education and training sector—the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)—which provides the standards for Australian qualifications.

An AQF qualification is the result of an accredited complete program of learning that leads to formal certification. A qualification certifies the knowledge, skills and learning outcomes of the graduate obtained through study, training, work and life experiences.

An AQF qualification is recognised across Australia and by other countries.

The AQF covers qualification levels and types from a Level 1 (Certificate 1) to a Level 10 (doctoral degree).

University qualifications

Qualifications from a university include bachelor’s and master’s degrees in interpreting or translating. A graduate certificate may also be available.

Vocational Education and Training (Vet) sector qualifications

Qualifications from a State training provider (such as a TAFE college) or other registered training provider may include the following:

Advanced Diploma of Interpreting

This reflects the skills and knowledge required to interpret in complex dialogue and monologue settings where there are additional demands in managing the discourse. The interpreter needs to have advanced skills in retention and recall and may be required to switch modes (for example, from consecutive to simultaneous interpreting).

The advanced diploma prepares interpreters for work where interpreting content may not easily be predicted or planned for or may require specialist subject knowledge and context awareness.

They can work in all community, business and diplomatic domains such as health and welfare, policing and courts, formal immigration hearings, education, the media, commerce, government and international relations, professional sectors such as law, technology and science, and assignments involving formality, or participants with high status and accountability where the consequences of errors in communicative intent can have significant implications.

Diploma of Interpreting

This reflects the skills and knowledge required to interpret in general dialogue settings, with the potential to interpret in general monologue settings, where the interpreter is able to physically control the discourse to assist retention and recall.

The diploma prepares interpreters for work where interpreting content is broad and routine or may be readily predicted and planned for. They can work in community and business domains such as general health, welfare and community services, non-complex disability assistance, educational and social contexts, initial police interviews, over the counter interviews in customer and community information services, tourism, and other informal business and workplace contexts where the consequences of errors in communicative intent can be readily managed.

Advanced Diploma of Translating

This reflects the skills and knowledge required to translate special purpose texts using specific terminology for a specific audience from one language to another.

The advanced diploma prepares translators to translate texts where there may be significant equivalence problems, the subject of the text has its own specific terminology or where there is a need to undertake extensive research and translate complex language and concepts. Specific audiences may be found in commerce and marketing, government and international relations—including immigration, both regular and humanitarian—the media, and sectors generally considered to be professional, such as law, health and medicine, technology and science. Assignments in these areas can deal with material requiring significant additional quality assurance processes to achieve functional equivalence.

Diploma of Translating

This reflects the skills and knowledge required to translate general purpose texts from one language to another to convey information written in plain language to a limited and known audience.

The diploma prepares translators to translate texts where there are limited equivalence problems, plain language and concepts accessible to the general public, and limited requirements for research on the subject beyond client resources. Limited and known audiences may include the clients of community services, educational institutions, community information services and businesses, or may relate to government client relationships. Assignments may involve additional quality assurance to achieve functional equivalence.

NAATI credentials

The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI) is the body responsible for setting and monitoring the standards for the translating and interpreting profession in Australia. It does this through its credentialing system.

NAATI credentials include NAATI Certification and NAATI Recognition.

NAATI Certification may be obtained in five ways:

  • passing a NAATI certification test
  • successful completion of a course of studies in translation and/or interpreting at an Australian institution as approved by NAATI
  • providing evidence of a specialised tertiary qualification in translation and/or interpreting obtained from an educational institution overseas
  • providing evidence of membership of a recognised international translating and/or
  • interpreting professional association
  • providing evidence of advanced standing in translating or interpreting.

Interpreters

Conference Interpreter (Senior)

This is the highest level of NAATI interpreting certification. It reflects a level of excellence in conference interpreting, recognised through demonstrated extensive experience and internationa leadership. It encompasses and builds on the competencies of conference interpreter certification.

Certification pathways at this level are either through membership of certain overseas professional associations or demonstrated advanced standing in the profession.

Conference Interpreter

This represents the level of competence required to handle complex, technical and sophisticated interpreting, in both consecutive and simultaneous modes, in line with recognised international practice. Conference Interpreters operate in diverse situations, including at conferences, high-level negotiations, and court proceedings and may choose to specialise in a particular area(s).

Certification pathways at this level are through either successful completion of a NAATI-approved Australian course or recognition of a specialised tertiary qualification in translating and/or interpreting obtained overseas.

Professional Interpreter

This represents the minimum level of competence for professional interpreting and is the minimum level recommended by NAATI for work in most settings, including banking, law, health, and social and community services. Professional Interpreters are capable of interpreting across a wide range of semi-specialised situations and are capable of using the consecutive mode to interpret speeches or presentations.

Certification pathways are through either success in a NAATI certification test or successful completion of a NAATI-approved Australian course.

Paraprofessional Interpreter

This represents a level of competence in interpreting for the purpose of general conversations. Paraprofessional Interpreters generally undertake the interpretation of non-specialist dialogues. Practitioners at this level are encouraged to obtain professional-level certification.

Certification pathways are through either success in a NAATI certification test or successful completion of a NAATI-approved Australian course.

Translators

Advanced Translator (Senior)

This is the highest level of NAATI translating certification. It reflects a level of excellence in specialised translating, recognised through demonstrated extensive experience and international leadership. It encompasses and builds on the competencies of Advanced Translator certification. Certification pathways at this level are through either membership of certain overseas professional associations or demonstrated advanced standing in the profession.

Advanced Translator

This represents the level of competence required to handle complex, technical and sophisticated translations in line with recognised international practice. Advanced Translators operate in diverse situations and may choose to specialise in a particular area(s) including translating technical manuals, research papers, providing translations for conferences, high-level negotiations and court proceedings.

Certification pathways are through either success in a NAATI certification test, successful completion of a NAATI-approved Australian course or recognition of a specialised tertiary qualification in translating and/or interpreting obtained overseas.

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, and social and community services. Translators at this level work across a wide range of subjects involving documents with specialised content.

Certification pathways are through either success in a NAATI certification test, successful completion of a NAATI-approved Australian course, recognition of a specialised tertiary qualification in translating and/or interpreting obtained overseas, membership of certain overseas professional associations or demonstrated advanced standing in the profession.

Paraprofessional Translator

This represents a level of competence enabling the production of translation of non-specialised information (for example a birth certificate). Practitioners at this level are encouraged to obtain professional-level certification. The certification pathway is through success in a NAATI certification test.

Interpreting and translating services are expected to identify interpreter and translator skills and competencies appropriate to the particular interpreting or translation task.

Ethics

NAATI certification processes and tertiary qualifications in interpreting and translating place strong emphasis on practitioner ethics. While the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI) does not prescribe a code of ethics for the profession, it strongly endorses adherence to such codes. If at any time NAATI considers that a practitioner has breached the applicable code of ethics, NAATI reserves the right to counsel a practitioner and in certain circumstances to cancel a NAATI credential.

Practitioners who are members of professional associations are bound to adhere to relevant codes of ethics. Practitioners who are Western Australian public sector employees must also adhere to the WA Public Sector Code of Ethics.

The two codes of ethics relevant in Australia are those governed by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) and the Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association (ASLIA). Members of these associations must adhere to the relevant code. A brief description of each is provided below.

AUSIT Code of Ethics

Adherence to the AUSIT Code of Ethics represents an undertaking by members of professional interpreting and translating associations, as well as other members of the sector, that they can be relied upon to behave according to rules that protect and respect the interests of all parties involved as well as those of their fellow members. In summary, the codes require:

  • professional conduct—including providing a quality service in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner, disclosing any conflict of interest or any matter that may compromise their impartiality, and dealing honestly and fairly with all parties
  • confidentiality
  • competency—only undertaking work they are competent to perform
  • impartiality
  • accuracy in transferring the meaning and intent of messages
  • clarity of role boundaries—including maintaining a focus on message transfer and not engaging in other tasks such as advocacy, guidance or advice
  • professional development—continually upgrading language and transfer skills and contextual and cultural understanding, and keeping up to date with technological advances pertinent to their practice
  • professional solidarity—supporting fellow professionals and upholding the reputation and trustworthiness of the profession.

ASLIA Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct

Members of ASLIA are required to abide by the Code of Ethics and follow the Guidelines for Professional Conduct as a condition of membership of the association. The code articulates ethical principles, values, and standards of conduct to guide all practitioners in their pursuit of professional practice. They are:

  • Professional accountability—accepting responsibility for professional decisions and actions and maintaining confidentiality, professional conduct, scope of practice and integrity of service.
  • Professional competence—providing the highest possible quality of service through all aspects of professional practice including being qualified to practise, faithfulness of interpretation, accountability for professional competence and ongoing professional development.
  • Non-discrimination—approaching professional service with respect and cultural sensitivity towards all participants.
  • Integrity in professional relationships—dealing honestly and fairly with participants and colleagues while establishing and maintaining professional boundaries.
  • Integrity in business relationships—establishing and maintaining professional boundaries with participants and colleagues in a manner that is honest and fair.

Complaints processes

Complaints may be viewed from three perspectives:

  • the client—about the quality of an interpreter/translation
  • the WA public sector agency—about the quality of an interpreter/translation
  • an interpreter/translator—about their experience of the interpreting or translating process.

Clients

Clients may complain about their experience of an interpreting session or translation organised by a WA public sector agency through that agency’s complaints management process.

Guidelines for WA public sector complaints management processes are contained in the Public Sector Commissioner’s Circular 2009–27: Complaints Management. The policy applies to all Western Australian State Government agencies covered by the Public Sector Management Act 1994. The policy states that agencies are required to:

  • have in place a complaints management system that conforms to the principles of the Australian Standard on Complaints Handling (AS ISO 10002)
  • have a direct link on the front page of the website to information assisting people to make a complaint about that agency (those agencies with websites)
  • where complaints remain unresolved at the agency level, refer people to appropriate external bodies such as the Ombudsman Western Australia.

The objectives of the policy are to increase:

  • community access to complaints mechanisms
  • community knowledge of complaints mechanisms and what to expect regarding complaints procedures
  • the capacity of agencies to meet an appropriate standard of complaints management, including suitable commitment and resources
  • monitoring and evaluation of complaints processes and data received by agencies to ensure service delivery improvement.

Agencies can ensure that their complaints processes are accessible to clients through:

  • a clearly identifiable link to feedback on the ‘home’ or ‘contact us’ pages of the website
  • a statement encouraging clients to provide feedback or make a complaint
  • complaints forms translated into languages other than English
  • customer feedback forms that ask ‘Do you require an interpreter?’ and including the interpreting and sign language symbols:
Australian interpreter symbol
Sign language symbol
  • a video clip on their website
  • guidelines on how the agency uses information from client feedback and complaints
  • clear identification of the issues about which a person may or may not complain
  • guidelines on how to escalate a complaint if it is not resolved to the client’s satisfaction
  • clear reporting frameworks and procedures.

WA public sector agencies

Western Australian Government agencies may make complaints about interpreting and translating services through:

  • the Department of Finance, if services are obtained via the Common Use Arrangement for Interpreting and Translating Services (CUAITS2012)
  • direct recourse to the booking agency that referred the interpreter or translator to the assignment
  • AUSIT and the Western Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters (WAITI). AUSIT has the ability to investigate breaches of its Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct by its members
  • the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) if the complaint is in relation to the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National
  • the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) if the complaint relates to an interpreter or translator who has NAATI Certification or NAATI Recognition.

Interpreters/translators

Interpreters and translators wishing to make a complaint about their experiences of the interpreting or translating assignment may do so to their employer or their booking agency, or to WA public sector agencies, through existing complaints processes.

Interpreters and translators may also lodge complaints with the Ombudsman Western Australia (telephone 9220 7555 or freecall 1800 117 000 for country and interstate callers).

Communication strategies

Communication strategies play a critical role in providing accessible and responsive services to all Western Australians. How to communicate effectively with people from Indigenous communities, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and people who are Deaf or hard of hearing is therefore an important consideration. In some cases, targeted strategies may be required to ensure messages reach particular groups. The following steps can be integrated into generic communication strategies or form the basis of targeted approaches.

  • Identify the purpose of the communication, for example, to raise awareness about a policy or to provide information about a government service.
  • Collect and analyse relevant data to identify client/customer demographics. Different groups will have specific and varying communication needs and may require information at different times and through different channels and formats.
  • Identify and consult with relevant organisations, groups and individuals to:
  • define areas of greatest need for information provision
  • identify the most effective communication tools
  • seek assistance with testing the effectiveness of the communication tools and appropriateness of the messages for the target audience
  • seek assistance with information dissemination where appropriate.[1]

This could include forming partnerships with local Indigenous, multicultural and disability service delivery organisations, associations and networks, local governments, State or Australian government agencies and non-government organisations.

Consider a range of communication tools, such as:

  • engaging interpreters for face-to-face information sessions
  • use of plain English in verbal and written communications
  • graphics such as international signs, symbols and storyboards
  • translated information for electronic media such as email or internet web pages, or printed publications such as brochures, booklets, fact sheets, flyers and mainstream and/or ethnic media[2]
  • audio-visual materials such as:
    • subtitled, dubbed, voice-over or original language videos
    • audio cassettes
    • multilingual telephone lines
    • Indigenous and ethnic radio[3] and television scripts
    • discussion groups, information sharing sessions and seminars through an interpreter/bilingual worker
  • for Deaf people, information in Auslan in an electronic format, on DVD, via video link online or on DVDs as Picture in Picture (PiP).

A mixture of approaches is generally more effective than communication strategies that rely on only one or two methods. Note that, if a person speaks English as their second language they may be disadvantaged if provided with information only in written format. Review the effectiveness of the strategies and amend them as required.

Data collection and monitoring

Data collection

To plan for the provision of language services, agencies are encouraged to collect cultural and linguistic data on clients using their services, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) standard set of indicators. Agencies should endeavour to collect the minimum core set of indicators, which comprises:

  • country of birth
  • main language other than English spoken at home
  • proficiency in spoken English
  • Indigenous status.

The other indicators in the standard set are: ancestry, birthplace of parents, first language spoken, languages spoken at home, main language spoken at home, religious affiliation and year of arrival in Australia.

Agencies are encouraged to collect the minimum core data set and to identify and include relevant standard variables as appropriate.

Each agency collects data for different reasons and has unique administrative and management processes. There is also no single measure of cultural and linguistic diversity. The type of data collected and how it is collected will depend on the:

  • core business of the agency or program
  • target demographic of an agency or a program
  • purpose of the data (for example performance indicators, service needs analysis, community profiles).

Combining main language other than English spoken at home with proficiency in spoken English can help identify the need for language services and inform marketing and communication strategies.

For more information, see the Guide to cultural and linguistic data collection for the Public Sector, available on the Office of Multicultural Interests website at: www.omi.wa.gov.au.

Monitoring

To monitor the extent to which language services are provided, and to assist future planning, Western Australian Government agencies may wish to record data on the:

  • number of times an interpreter has been engaged
  • languages for which interpreters have been engaged and into which languages documents have been translated
  • expenditure on interpreting and translating
  • languages for which interpreters or translators are required but not able to be sourced from a provider
  • number of times an interpreter has been requested by a client and subsequently declined, including the reasons why
  • type of interpreting service used, for example, telephone or face-to-face.

Glossary of terms

The following terms are used in these guidelines.

ASLIA

The Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association (ASLIA) is a not-for-profit body and the national peak organisation representing the needs and interests of Auslan/English interpreters and Deaf Interpreters in Australia. The association comprises a national executive committee, a representative council and branches in most States/Territories.

Auslan

Australian sign language (Auslan) is the preferred language of the Australian Deaf community. It evolved from the sign languages brought to Australia during the 19th century from Britain and Ireland. Its grammar and vocabulary are different from English. Auslan was recognised by the Australian government as a ‘community language other than English’ and was the preferred language of the Deaf community in policy statements in 1987 and 1991.

AUSIT

The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) is the national association for the translating and interpreting profession. It was founded in 1987, bringing together existing local associations and specialist groups and has branches in each State and Territory. AUSIT is a fully independent association, incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory, with an Australia-wide membership. Members of AUSIT are mainly practising translators and interpreters.

Bilingual worker/language assistant

A bilingual worker or language assistant is a person who uses language skills to provide basic information. The person is responsible to the client for the information provided. They typically work in government agencies, semi-government authorities, government funded or subsidised organisations, charitable organisations, ethnic organisations and businesses.

Indigenous

For the purposes of these guidelines, ‘Indigenous’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their languages.

Interpreter

An interpreter is a person who facilitates communication between two parties who use different languages. The interpreter verbally conveys an oral or signed message or statement from one language into another with accuracy and objectivity. The interpreter is responsible for the communication process between the two parties and not for the information provided.

IPIA

The Independent Practising Interpreters Association (IPIA) was founded in 2004 by a group of Royal Perth Hospital contractors providing interpreting services. Its purpose is to look after the interests of practising interpreters. IPIA relies on the voluntary work of its members, who communicate via email.

Language services

Language services refer to actions taken by agencies to help people who have difficulty in communicating in English, or who are Deaf and hard of hearing. These activities include the engagement of interpreters and bilingual workers/language assistants, provision of special telephone equipment for the Deaf and hard of hearing, and translation of signs and pamphlets. Language services in relation to this policy do not refer to language maintenance.

NAATI

The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (trading as NAATI) is the national standards and certification body for translators and interpreters in Australia. NAATI is incorporated in Australia under the Corporations Act 2001. It is owned jointly by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and is governed by a board of directors who are appointed by the owners.

Tertiary qualifications

Tertiary qualifications in interpreting and translating refer to qualifications awarded by higher education providers, such as universities, or vocational education and training (VET) providers, such as TAFE colleges and other registered training providers. They include master’s and bachelor’s degrees, advanced diplomas and diplomas.

Translator

A translator is a person who makes a written transfer of a message or statement from one language into another language with accuracy and objectivity to enable communication between two parties who use different languages. As is the case with interpreters, translators are responsible for the communication process, and not for the information provided.

WAITI

The Western Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters (WAITI) Inc was established in 1975 as a not-for-profit body run by practitioners, for practitioners. It aims to further the interests of member interpreters and translators and support quality language services. WAITI focuses on Western Australian issues while actively leading or contributing to initiatives affecting practitioners at the national level.

Appendices

Rights and responsibilities

Rights and responsibilities
PartyRightsResponsibilities
WA public sector staff
  • Request the services of an interpreter or translator to assist their work
  • Professionalism from interpreter or translator including compliance with the AUSIT or ASLIA Code of Ethics
  • Quality service from interpreting and translating services
  • Provide services that are non-discriminatory and do not result in disadvantage to any client due to language/cultural barriers
  • Understand when an interpreter or multilingual strategies may be required
  • Request the services of an interpreter or translator
  • Provide adequate job specifications to contracted services
  • Treat the interpreter or translator with respect
  • Ensure that the client is aware of the interpreter’s role
  • Ensure that the interpreter is able to work in a safe, healthy environment
  • Provide the interpreter with adequate pre-interview briefing and post-interview debriefing
  • Maintain professionalism
  • Deal with complaints promptly and appropriately
Client
  • Not to be disadvantaged in accessing government services
  • Access to an interpreter
  • Request an interpreter (including a preferred interpreter) or translated information in preferred language
  • Refuse the use of an interpreter
  • Respect, including not being coerced into communicating in broken English
  • Request consideration of gender and religious/cultural/kinship affiliations
  • Respect the right of the agency to engage an interpreter
  • Respect the role of an interpreter
  • Not ask personal details of the interpreter
  • Be punctual and cooperative
Interpreter/translator
  • Respect as a professional
  • Adequate briefing prior to an interview
  • Adequate instructions for translations
  • Safe and healthy working conditions
  • Debriefing following assignment if required
  • Comply with relevant code of ethics including the principles of impartiality and confidentiality and providing a quality service in terms of accuracy and faithfulness
  • Wear or carry appropriate identification
  • Participate in briefings and debriefings
  • Maintain professionalism including being punctual and dealing with complaints promptly and appropriately
  • Maintain skills by undertaking regular professional development
Interpreting and translating services
  • Adequate job specifications from agencies
  • Reliability and professionalism from interpreters and translators
  • Provide a high quality service to agencies
  • Deal with complaints promptly and appropriately
  • Provide formal identification badges for interpreters, which include their qualification/credential
  • Treat interpreters and translators with respect
  • Provide support to interpreters and translators including:
    • attending to their safety
    • providing constructive feedback
    • proactive communication
    • transparent and fair job allocation
    • incentives for professional development and training
    • providing professional development and training opportunities
  • Provide accessible complaints processes
Accompanying persons such as family and friends
  • Attend interview by agreement from all parties
  • Not to interfere with interpreting
  • Provide support and speak only to the interviewee
  • Not to ask questions of the interpreter after the interview

Country of birth and main languages spoken (2011 Census)

Country of birth and main languages spoken (2011 Census)
Country of birth and population In Western AustraliaMain languages other than English spoken at home
Afghanistan, 3925Dari, Farsi, Hazaraghi, Pashto, Arabic
Albania, 138Albanian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, German
Algeria, 139French, Arabic
Angola, 60Portuguese, Afrikaans, French
Argentina, 620Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German
Armenia, 31Russian, Armenian
Austria, 1406German, Polish, Italian, Hungarian, Croatian
Azerbaijan, 50Russian, Azeri, Turkish
Bahrain, 206Arabic, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Bengali
Bangladesh, 1496Bengali, Indo-Aryan (nec),Urdu, Hindi, Mandarin
Belarus, 65Russian, Belorussian, Czech
Belgium, 740French, Dutch, German, Afrikaans, Italian
Belize, 12Spanish
Benin, 8French
Bermuda, 102Tamil
Bhutan, 135Other Southern Asian Languages, Nepali
Bolivia, 31Spanish
Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2814Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian (so described), German
Botswana, 224Tswana, Shona, Afrikaans, African languages (nec), Malayalam
Brazil, 1749Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek, French
Brunei Darussalam, 1002Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Hakka, Min Nan
Bulgaria, 318Bulgarian, Turkish, Macedonian, Arabic, Greek
Burkina Faso, 9French, French Creole (nfd)
Burma, 7455Burmese, Karen, Burmese and related languages (nfd), Mandarin, Chin Haka
Burundi, 325Kirundi, Swahili, French
Cambodia, 1022Khmer, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Mandarin
Cameroon, 49French, African languages (nec)
Cape Verde, 5Portuguese
Central African Republic, 7French
Chad, 8French
Chile, 1512Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese
China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), 19,030Mandarin, Cantonese, Chinese (nfd), Min Nan, Wu
Colombia, 921Spanish, Italian
Congo, Democratic Republic of the, 448Swahili, French, African languages (nec), Dutch, Vietnamese
Congo, Republic of the, 177Swahili, French, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda
Cook Islands, 91Maori (Cook Island), Maori (New Zealand)
Costa Rica, 41Spanish
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), 74French, Dan (Gio-Dan), Krahn
Croatia, 5148Croatian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian (so described), Italian, Bosnian
Cuba, 46Spanish
Curacao 13Dutch
Cyprus, 443Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Serbian, Cypriot (so described)
Czech Republic, 648Czech, German, Serbian, Polish, Slovak
Denmark, 1181Danish, French, Serbian, Urdu, German, Hebrew
Djibouti, 15Somali, Arabic, French
Dominican Republic, 10Spanish
Ecuador, 86Spanish
Egypt, 1853Arabic, Italian, Greek, French, Dinka
El Salvador, 1295Spanish, Italian, German, Danish
Eritrea, 455Arabic, Tigrinya, Tigre, Italian, Amharic
Estonia, 241Estonian, German, Russian
Ethiopia, 1152Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Arabic, Somali
Fiji, 1034Hindi, Fijian, Gujarati, Fijian Hindustani, Southern Asian Languages (nfd)
Finland, 526Finnish, Swedish
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 2988Macedonian, Albanian, Greek, Italian, Romany
France, 2790French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic
French Polynesia, 17French
Gabon, 3French
Gambia, 19African languages (nfd), Mandinka, Bemba
Gaza Strip and West Bank, 181Arabic, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Georgia, 4Russian
Germany, 10,964German, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian, Croatian
Ghana, 435Akan, Ewe, Ga, African languages (nec), Mandarin
Greece, 2652Greek, Macedonian, Italian, German, French
Guadeloupe, 3French
Guatemala, 24Spanish
Guinea, 95French, Krio, Fulfulde, Mandinka, African languages (nec)
Honduras, 31Spanish
Hungary, 1177Hungarian, German, Macedonian, Italian, French
Iceland, 156Icelandic
India, 29,915Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Tamil
Indonesia, 10,140Indonesian, Mandarin, Dutch, Min Nan, Vietnamese
Iran, 3722Farsi, Arabic, Kurdish, Dari, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Iraq, 2601Arabic, Kurdish, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Turkish, Farsi
Israel, 691Hebrew, Arabic, German, Italian, Dutch
Italy, 19,477Italian, Spanish, Croatian, French, German
Japan, 3564Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, German, Bengali
Jordan, 349Arabic, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Kazakhstan, 141Russian, Turkic (nec), German, French
Kenya, 4397Gujarati, Swahili, Punjabi, Dinka, Somali
Kiribati, 25Gilbertese
Kosovo, 49Albanian, Bosnian
Korea, Democratic Republic of (North), 6Korean
Korea, Republic of (South), 4098Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, German
Kuwait, 369Arabic, Malayalam, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil
Kyrgyzstan, 53Russian, German, Turkic (nec)
Laos, 202Lao, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Thai, Cantonese
Latvia, 346Latvian, Russian
Lebanon, 1031Arabic, French, Armenian, Italian, Tigrinya
Lesotho, 23Dutch, African languages (nec), Yoruba
Liberia, 495Loma (Lorma), Dan (Gio-Dan), Krahn, Krio, Mandinka
Libya, 328Arabic, Italian, Hindi
Liechtenstein, 5German, Polish
Lithuania, 183Lithuanian, Russian, German, Polish
Luxembourg, 39Letzeburgish, French
Madagascar, 24French
Malawi, 238Nyanja (Chichewa), Swahili, African languages (nec), Somali, French
Malaysia, 24,967Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Min Nan, Tamil
Maldives, 107Dhivehi
Malta, 999Maltese, Italian
Mauritania, 18Fulfulde, French
Mauritius, 3933French, Mauritian Creole, French Creole, Mandarin, Hindi
Mexico, 250Spanish
Moldova, 31Russian, Hebrew, Romanian
Mongolia, 98Mongol, Mandarin
Montenegro, 137Serbian, Croatian, Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian (so described), Bosnian, Macedonian
Morocco, 136French, Arabic, Hebrew, African languages (nfd), Tigrinya
Mozambique, 173Portuguese
Namibia, 300Afrikaans, German, Ndebele
Nepal, 920Nepali, Hindi, Other Southern Asian languages, Urdu
Netherlands, 9982Dutch, German, French, Italian, Afrikaans
New Caledonia, 34French
Nicaragua, 42Spanish
Nigeria, 726Yoruba, Igbo, African languages (nec), Italian, African languages (nfd)
Niue, 48Niue
Norway, 10Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, French, Spanish
Oman, 211Arabic, Dutch, Malayalam, Urdu, Farsi
Pakistan, 2420Urdu, Pashto, Dari, Punjabi, Balochi
Panama, 33Spanish
Papua New Guinea, 1763Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu, Yumplatok, Cantonese, Dutch
Paraguay, 28Spanish
Peru, 579Spanish
Philippines, 17,231Tagalog, Filipino, Bisaya, Cebuano, Min Nan
Poland, 5568Polish, German, Ukrainian, Russian
Portugal, 2450Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, German, French
Puerto Rico, 24Spanish
Qatar, 146Arabic, Malayalam, Urdu, Tagalog, Sinhalese
Romania, 1573Romanian, Hungarian, German, Greek, Italian
Russia, 1235Russian, Polish, Italian, Greek, Latvian
Rwanda, 128 Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Swahili, French
Samoa, 364Samoan
American Samoa, 10Samoan, Niue, Tongan
São Tomé and Príncipe, 4Portuguese
Saudi Arabia, 1142Arabic, Malayalam, Urdu, Tagalog, Bengali
Senegal, 51Fulfulde, French, African languages (nec)
Serbia, 1660Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian
Seychelles, 805Seychelles Creole, French, French Creole, Sinhalese, German
Sierra Leone, 421Krio, Fulfulde, French, Mandinka, Themne
Singapore, 13,972Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese, Tamil, Min Nan
Slovakia, 343Slovak, Hungarian, German, Czech, Polish
Slovenia, 304Slovene, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian/Yugoslavian (so described)
Solomon Islands, 84Solomon Islands Pijin, Cantonese, Tok Pisin, Gilbertese
Somalia, 1045Somali, Arabic, Italian, Gujarati
South Sudan, 488Dinka, Arabic, Bari, Nuer, Acholi
Spain, 1161Spanish, Italian, French, Catalan, Dutch
Sri Lanka, 5339Sinhalese, Tamil, Southern Asian languages (nfd), Dhivehi, German
Sudan, 2721Arabic, Dinka, Acholi, Tigrinya, Bari
Suriname, 19Dutch
Swaziland, 79African languages (nec)
Sweden, 959Swedish, Farsi, Spanish, Arabic, Danish
Switzerland, 1872German, French, Swiss (so described), Italian, Spanish
Syria, 289Arabic, Armenian, Kurdish, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Tajikistan, 17Farsi, Russian
Tanzania, 779Kirundi, Swahili, Gujarati, Punjabi, Konkani
Thailand, 5663Thai, Karen, Khmer, Burmese, Vietnamese
Timor-Leste, 424Portuguese, Tetum, Mandarin, Timorese, Hakka
Togo, 43French, Ewe
Tonga, 213Tongan
Trinidad and Tobago, 407Spanish
Tunisia, 42French, Italian, Maltese, Arabic
Turkey, 1047Turkish, Kurdish, Greek, German, Armenian
Turkmenistan, 5Russian
Tuvalu, 3Tuvaluan
Uganda, 528Acholi, Madi, Luganda, Gujarati, Swahili
Ukraine, 645Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Italian, German
United Arab Emirates, 699Arabic, Malayalam, Urdu, Hindi, Sinhalese
Uruguay, 170Spanish, Italian
Uzbekistan, 92Russian, Greek, Uzbek
Vanuatu, 51French, Bislama
Venezuela, 449Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German
Vietnam, 12,715Vietnamese, Cantonese, Min Nan, Mandarin, Khmer
Yemen, 98Arabic, Somali
Zambia, 2123Bemba, Nyanja (Chichewa), Gujarati, Afrikaans, Shona
Zimbabwe, 9818Shona, Ndebele, Afrikaans, Gujarati, Portuguese

Languages spoken at home by people who speak English not well or not at all by age

Languages spoken at home by people who speak English not well or not at all by age
Language spoken at home(2011 Census)0–14 Years15–24 Years25–44 Years45–64 Years65+ YearsTotal
Mandarin918612203514294875481
Vietnamese741200159319696655168
Italian1605215933532893995
Cantonese35326857714379393574
Arabic9181938083331252377
Korean221156695257391368
Spanish19531165244273908
Serbian98099391271859
Karen27517025513219851
Indonesian2944820020479825
Burmese1345629125087818
Japanese270462969377782
Farsi15847237200134776
Macedonian732057209398757
Portuguese863382196351748
Thai1485330316725696
Croatian38330186425682
Dari1758419211139601
Polish56026203303588
Chinese (nfd)611332088826516
Malay1621842162131515
Greek44102560373512
Tagalog29313843720447
Khmer511411315657391
French14223674968349
Dinka2102481340349
Gujarati15912624837318
Somali1282896606318
Tamil130161064222316
Turkish70241246332313
Punjabi12218904224296
Bosnian2351917371291
Hazaraghi8068103303284
Hindi1378833414276
Afrikaans25411600271
German13010202683269
Min Nan1442795116256
Malayalam172034407253
Russian747384085244
Filipino1473453010235
Sinhalese1028532016199
Urdu1313312212199
Kirundi 572079390195
Burmese and related languages (nfd)71149040179
Auslan2826495321177
Romanian370263860161
Bengali9794170154
Dutch7303867151
Swahili55756203141
Tigrinya29446466131
Kurdish42539160102
Hungarian70162849100
African languages (nec)3893220099
Serbo-Croatian/ Yugoslavian (so described)0011474098
Telugu5261521498
Pashto2532118067
Hakka1300213367
Shona61040065
Oromo2013310064
Amharic1110348063
Nepali283234058
Chin Haka174370058
Albanian1109201353
Maori (New Zealand)34473048
Ukrainian801082046
Nuer284130045
Sign languages (nfd)1002051045
Marathi29474044
Samoan170189044
Finnish30073343
Tongan210134543
Southern Asian languages (nfd)150134941
Acholi22094035
Krio20374034
Czech150012633
Lao301410330
Bari200010030
Balochi16073329
Fulfulde19640029
African languages (nfd)30169028
Madi17650028
Slovak17006326
Hebrew18030425
Swedish16030019
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic8605019
Moro (Nuba Moro)7075019
Tok Pisin 16030019
Kannada17000017
Mongolian10070017
Seychelles Creole3005917
Bulgarian60001016
Makaton16000016
Maltese00031215
Danish9000514
Norwegian14000014
Bisaya10040014
Mauritian Creole6000814
Anuak7050012
French Creole (nfd)5033011
Lithuanian5000510
Burmese and related languages (nec)4060010
Tetum0055010
South-East Asian Austronesian languages (nec)3070010
Latvian603009
Mon300339
Ewe900009
Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)600039
Slovene300058
Konkani800008
Cebuano800008
Balinese503008
Wu000088
Akan800008
Mandinka044008
Dhivehi403007
Icelandic303006
Uzbek006006
Armenian000066
Tigre300036
Irish005005
Estonian005005
Uygur000404
Turkic (nec)400004
Other Southern Asian languages400004
Timorese004004
Zulu400004
Welsh000033
Eastern European languages (nfd)003003
Tulu300003
Indo-Aryan (nec)300003
Rohingya003003
Nyanja (Chichewa)003003
Shilluk300003
Loma (Lorma)300003
Fijian300003
Maori (Cook Island)003003
Tokelauan300003
Swiss, so described300003
Creole (nfd)000033
Total9515270210,58310,250971342,763

Aboriginal languages spoken at home in Western Australia by people who speak English not well or not at all by age

Aboriginal languages spoken at home in Western Australia by people who speak English not well or not at all by age
Language spoken at home (2011 Census)0–14 Years15–24 Years25–44 Years45–64 Years65+ YearsTotal
Kriol16925353719285
Ngaanyatjarra8111162034162
Kukatja6621191713136
Walmajarri19314183084
Pitjantjatjara3501410968
Manyjilyjarra316155966
Australian Indigenous languages (nfd)473182355
Pintupi56144332
Jaru16008024
Martu Wangka21000021
Nyungar4070314
Luritja31000013
Murrinh Patha6060012
Kartujarra3450012
Wangkatha10000010
Torres Strait Island languages (nfd)450009
Yindjibarndi900009
Kija700007
Ngarluma043007
Bunuba600006
Karajarri300036
Nyangumarta300036
Other Australian Indigenous languages (nec)300036
Miriwoong500005
Nyikina000505
Mangala000055
Yumplatok (Torres Strait Creole)300003
Warlpiri030003
Wangkajunga300003
Yulparija000303
Bardi030003
Gooniyandi000033
Yawuru300003
Nyamal003003
Aboriginal English, so described000033
Total5221081541451631092