NAATI accreditation in Australia

NAATI is the acronym for the only official accreditation body in Australia. It sets the standards for its own translators and interpreters. NAATI stands for the “National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters”. This is an entirely Australian organisation and doesn’t necessarily have any equivalents elsewhere in the world, although some countries do have similar organisations that set standards and provide accreditation for their own translators and interpreters. Whether a budding translator or interpreter actually needs to have NAATI accreditation depends on the sort of work they do and how much of it is related to providing services for clients who have to deal with major employers and government departments.

How to get NAATI accreditation

NAATI accreditation is not a single uniform standard. There are various levels of accreditation and it is perfectly acceptable to pass an examination for one level and become accredited as a translator or interpreter and then with experience achieve a higher level of accreditation by passing a more advanced examination later. Basically, having NAATI certification opens the doors to translation and interpreting work within Australia. The more advanced accreditation levels open more doors and allow more lucrative employment.

NAATI as an organisation doesn’t provide translating and interpreting training as such. It assesses how competent applicants are at translating and interpreting. This means that someone who wants to get into a career as a professional translator or interpreter must jump over a number of hurdles before seeking NAATI accreditation. Fluency in more than one’s own native language is the first hurdle and may be something that has been acquired innately because of being brought up in a bilingual or even multilingual family, exposure to another language acquired from overseas experience or attending language courses in Australia.

The second major hurdle is to attend translation or interpreting training at a recognised institution such as a university or college.

The third hurdle is to gain experience in either field in a practical setting. Experience overseas in a country where the language to be offered is spoken can be invaluable.

The fourth hurdle is to pass the relevant examination set by NAATI and achieve accreditation at one or another of the levels set by NAATI.

The role of NAATI accreditation in immigration procedures and applications

The Department of Home Affairs administers all immigration procedures in Australia. There is an almost bewildering range of visa categories that can be applied for depending on the reason for travel to Australia. All visa categories depend to some extent or other on supplying documentation to support the visa type. All supporting documents must be in English, which is fine for applicants who are Canadian, British or American, but problematic for just about everyone else who may have documents in anything from Arabic to Ukrainian and anything in between! These documents must be translated by a professional translator and certified. If the application is filled in within Australia, then the Dept. of Home Affairs insists that a NAATI certified translator is used.

Typical immigration documents translated by a NAATI certified translator

Typical visa documents handled by a NAATI certified translator may include:

  • birth certificates;
  • marriage certificates;
  • educational qualifications;
  • professional qualifications;
  • employment records;
  • police clearance certificates or criminal record checks;
  • financial records such as bank statements, proof of assets or income;
  • identification  documents in addition to passport;
  • English language proficiency if not an IELTS certificate.

Why NAATI certification is so important

If you are not a native English speaker and have to translate any of your personal visa documents for immigration purposes, it saves time and money to look for a professional NAATI certified translator based in Australia first.