Migration: I need an interpreter

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Can I have an interpreter at my hearing?

If English is not your first language and you need assistance to understand what is being said at a court hearing, an interpreter may be arranged to assist you.

If you cannot afford to pay for an interpreter, the Court may be able to arrange an interpreter for you at the Court’s cost. The Court will pay for an interpreter if it considers that without one, you would be disadvantaged because you do not speak or understand the English language or you are deaf, hearing impaired and/or speech impaired. If you are able to pay for your own interpreter, you should make efforts to obtain your own.

To find an interpreter, use NAATI online directory at www.naati.com.au  or phone 1300 557 470.

If you would like the Court to arrange an interpreter to assist you at the hearing, you will need to request one by ticking the relevant box in your Application – Migration Act. The Court will then arrange an interpreter for you when your application is processed.

Note: the Court will not pay for an interpreter if you have a lawyer representing you.

Can I have an interpreter to communicate with the registry?

If you need an interpreter to communicate with registry staff, you can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and speak to an interpreter. Ask them to set up a three-way conversation between you, an interpreter and the Court.

Can I have an interpreter to translate documents?

All documents must be prepared in English. If you want to rely on a document that is in a language other than English, it must be translated into English by an accredited translator. The Court does not provide document translation services. It is your responsibility to arrange for the translation of documents that you provide to the Court and documents sent to you by the Court or the Minister.

When using a private translator, look for NAATI certification. To find a translator, use NAATI's online directory at www.naati.com.au or phone 1300 557 470.

In exceptional circumstances, the Court might determine that it is in the interests of the Court to obtain a translation of a document to assist in a defended hearing. A judicial officer must authorise this translation, which will be arranged and funded in the same way as interpreter services.

Interpreters’ code of ethics

Interpreters and translators engaged by the Court must act in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT). AUSIT is the national professional association of interpreting and translation practitioners. General principles of the Code of Ethics include professional conduct, confidentiality, competence, impartiality, accuracy, employment, professional development and professional solidarity. Further information can be obtained from the AUSIT website.

Feedback and complaints

You are encouraged to provide feedback to the Court on the standard of interpreting and translating services provided by interpreters arranged by the court.

If you make a complaint about the quality or use of interpreter services, the complaints officer will handle the complaint in accordance with standard complaints handling procedures.