Professional accreditation for translators & interpreters in Australia
NAATI is the only agency in Australia which issues accreditation for translators and interpreters working in Australia.
Accreditation is an indicator of professionalism and increasingly important if you want to stand out as a German translation professional in Australia's freelance marketplace.
There are several ways of getting accredited if you're a German translator:
Let's look at them in a bit more detail:
Testing is offered for the following levels of accreditation in the German – English combination:
This qualification shows the candidate has reached the minimum level of
competence for professional translating. Candidates have to translate 3
passages of approx. 250 words and are also questioned on the ethics of
Advanced Translator: The candidate will usually already hold the Professional Translator qualification. Candidates have 8 hours to translate 3 passages, each approx. 400 words in length.
Paraprofessional interpreter: Candidates only require proficiency in German and English, and the test takes around 40 minutes for the spoken part, 1 ½ hours for the written section.
Professional interpreter: Candidates are often already paraprofessional interpreters. The test usually takes around 75-90 minutes and involves dialogue interpreting, questions of professional ethics, sight translation and consecutive interpreting.
All candidates need to provide proof of Australian residency and eligibility to sit the test.
There are 2 test sessions per year – March and September – and some examination centres abroad are available (none in the US).
For more detailed information about testing, please refer to the Accreditation by Testing booklet published on the organisation's website.
All German translation test materials will conform to the new German orthography rules (Neue Deutsche Rechtsschreibung) which have been valid since 2006.
Standard reference guide is DUDEN, Die Deutsche Rechtschreibung.
NAATI recognises variations in the German spoken in Austria, Germany and Switzerland: candidates must specify the variety they will use, and will be marked accordingly.
The authority endorses a variety of qualifications in both the VET –
Vocational Education Training, and HE – Higher Education sectors.
As the Naati website states:
Institutions in Australian offering endorsed qualifications for German translation:
Candidates seeking membership must first apply and then have their overseas qualifications assessed.
Overseas qualifications must be:
Where candidates qualified more than 3 years before applying for NAATI membership, then they must also demonstrate practical German translation experience.
This qualification is awarded to Members
or Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (UK) who can
demonstrate membership and hold the Institute’s Diploma in Translation.
Advanced Translator (senior) and Conference Interpreter (senior):
These qualifications are awarded on the basis of membership of a recognised professional association overseas, e.g the AITC, or AIIC. Accreditation is reserved for candidates active at the highest level of the profession.
Membership can also be awarded to candidates active at the highest level of the professions, and is based on their qualifications and activities.
It is not an honorary award.
Naati also publishes an information booklet on Accreditation by Overseas Qualification, Professional Association Membership or Advanced Standing
Apart from marking you out as a professional service provider, you get the benefit of being listed on their:
Translator & Interpreter directory:
The website hosts an online directory of accredited German translators and interpreters throughout Australia. This gives you potential client access and allows your credentials to be checked. A typical WIN-WIN situation.
When I last
looked (2019), 94 translators and 22 interpreters were registered in
the German-English combination.
The organisation offers an online course on its code of ethics, and an Introduction to Interpreting course. Workshops offer training on working with interpreters, and professional development courses are run occasionally.
For more information, check out the Naati website.
If you're working as a translator or interpreter in Australia, you'll also want to be a member of AUSIT, the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators. It has branches nationwide and organises regular member events for networking, CPD, etc.