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Translating and interpreting services for refugees

Refugees in Australia can get help with translating and interpreting.

Phone interpreters

People working with refugees in Australia can also get an interpreter over the phone to help them talk to a refugee.

TIS National is funded by the Australian government to provide interpreters for people who do not speak English who have a Medicare card, and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their clients who do not speak English. TIS National has access to over 3,000 contracted interpreters across Australia, speaking more than 160 languages and dialects. TIS National is used by most government agencies to communicate with their clients.

The Department of Home Affairs uses TIS National to provide the Free Interpreting Service. Under this program, interpreting services are free for people who do not speak English communicating with the following approved groups and individuals:

TIS National is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any person or organisation in Australia requiring interpreting services. The phone number is 131 450.
Find out more about TIS National

Translation of documents

The Department of Home Affairs provides a free translation service for people settling in Australia. People can get up to 10 documents translated into English within the first two years of getting their visa.

Anyone with a permanent visa or a temporary humanitarian visa (including a Temporary Protection Visa or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa) can use this service. You can apply for this online. The kinds of documents you can get translated include:

  • Identity documents: for example, birth or identity certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, death certificates, custody documents
  • Facilitation: for example, driver’s licence or motorcycle licence, police/penal certificates, medical certificates/reports, vaccination records
  • Education: for example, school certificates, academic transcripts, tertiary certificates
  • Employment: professional and trade certificates, employment certificates, references, letters of appointment/employment contracts.

Most of these will be translated in summary form.

Find out more about the Free Translating Servicea>

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