Here are some free interpreting and translation resources a non-English speaker in Australia can access before engaging a private interpreter or translator.
Free Onsite Interpreting
- All public hospital in Australia provides free interpreting service for public patients eligible for Medicare. Some have full-time or part-time in-house interpreters and engage external onsite or phone interpreting when in-house is not available.
- All courts and tribunals may book interpreters for non-English speakers for their court attendances. However the extent of service provided varies according to the type of law concerned. For example, a criminal suspect will be provided interpreting service throughout the proceeding whether or not the accused chooses to plead guilty or not. However, in a family law case, the service will only to provided up to a certain point and the parties will have to pay for their own interpreters at the final hearing if it does not settle. Parties to a civil case will need to engage their own interpreters from day one.
[More about Our Onsite Service]
Free Phone Interpreting
- You can call 131 450 to request for a Mandarin or Cantonese interpreter to call any Australian government agencies and the major telecommunication and utility companies at the cost of a local call. The translation fee will be paid by the organizations you are calling.
- General medical practitioners will be able to consult with their bulk billed Chinese patients by calling 131 450 to request for an interpreter.
- Centrelink has its own multi-lingual hot line 131 202.
[More about Our Phone Interpreting Service]
Free Translation Service
- New migrants may also be eligible to have their personal documents translated free of charge through Department of Social Service.
[More about Our Translation Service]
Interpreter service is available in places displaying the following sign: