Australia continues to be a leader in the provision of language services, particularly in the field of “community interpreting”, a term coined here in the early 1970s. It was the first country in the world to have a government-instituted accreditation authority in the field: the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), established in 1977, and the first to publish a code of ethics for the profession in 1996 (the AUSIT Code of Ethics), which has since been adopted, and adapted, by many associations and organisations in Australia and internationally.
Our translators and interpreters are held in high regard worldwide, and AUSIT members often travel overseas for important work in all fields of translating and interpreting.
Here below is a non-exhaustive list of current associations and organisations that make up our language services industry, together with some links to their international counterparts.
For the chronological development of our industry, please visit our Timeline.
If you would like to see your organisation listed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian T&I organisations and associations:
AUSIT - The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators. Established in 1987, it is the national professional association for translating and interpreting (T&I) practitioners. Membership is based on a combination of qualifications and experience. It seeks to further the professional development of its members and awareness of the industry among the general community. It is the author of the AUSIT Code of Ethics, which is recognised as setting the standards for ethical conduct of interpreters and translators in Australia.
AALC –The Australasian Association of Language Companies (AALC) Inc. is an organisation formed to promote the interests of language service providers in Australia and New Zealand. The AALC speaks with authority and credibility on behalf of its members on policy and commercial issues.
AALITRA –The Australian Association for Literary Translation. Formerly known as ALiTra and established in the mid-1990s, it changed name in 2010. It is a national organisation that promotes an interest in all aspects of literary translation, sponsoring public lectures and events, and holding periodic conferences with university bodies interested in the theory and practice of literary translation.
ASLIA The Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association. Established in 1991, it is the national peak organisation representing Auslan/English interpreters and Deaf Interpreters in Australia. It unites all the related state associations developed prior to its creation. Sign language interpreters can also hold NAATI accreditation. AUSIT works closely with ASLIA.
CITAA – Chinese Interpreters and Translators Association of Australia. CITAA is not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers with an executive committee for Chinese students, practitioners and other interested people.
AUTIF - The Australian University Translation & Interpreting Forum. Established in 2014, it is an association of university educators and researchers from all over Australia aiming to collaborate with each other on Interpreting and Translation educational and research issues.
NAATI - The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. NAATI administers accreditation examinations, endorse Interpreting and Translation qualifications and awards credentials to interpreters and translators working in Australia and New Zealand. Accreditation is mostly obtained by passing an examination or by completing a NAATI endorsed qualification at a university or TAFE college. NAATI also awards recognition to practitioners with language combinations not covered by the examination system. The accreditation process integrates the AUSIT Code of Ethics into its examination system. NAATI credentials are a requirement for most public service interpreting and translating assignments in Australia. It is not a professional association.
Professionals Australia: Formerly known as APESMA (the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia), Professionals Australia is a union-style organisation representing professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. In 2014, it obtained ACCC authorisation to collectively negotiate the terms of engagement for translator and interpreter members who operate as independent contractors, and to advise them on fair rates of pay and other contractual terms.
WAITI - The Western Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters Inc. Founded in 1975, WAITI played an active role in establishing AUSIT and the Code of Ethics. It is an independent practitioner voice committed to training, qualification and quality language services.
Asia-Pacific Associations currently adopting the AUSIT Code of Ethics:
NZSTI: Established in 1985, the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters is
a nationally representative body of translators and interpreters in New
Zealand. It adopted the AUSIT Code of Ethics in 2012.
AALC: Founded in 2013, the Australasian Association of Language Companies is
an association of Language Service Providers of the private sector in
Australia and New Zealand. It adopted the Revised AUSIT Code of Ethics
and issued its own Code of Conduct in 2016.
Links to International T&I Organisations and Associations
International Association of Conference Interpreters - http://aiic.net
American Translators Association http://www.atanet.org/divisions/
Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs / International Federation of Translators - http://www.fit-ift.org/
International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters - https://www.iapti.org
This timeline is not intended to be exhaustive; rather it serves as a brief guide to understanding how our industry has developed. These are just a few of its many milestones.
- 1947 - First Commonwealth translating service established
- 1973 - The Department of Immigration establishes the first fee-free emergency telephone interpreting service for non-English speakers. It is the first worldwide.
- 1975 - The Western Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters, WAITI, is founded in Perth. The oldest T&I association in Australia, it focuses on Western Australian issues, while also actively pioneering or contributing to initiatives affecting practitioners at the national level.
- 1977 - NAATI is established as an Accreditation body for T&I. It is the first of its kind worldwide.
- 1987 - AUSIT is founded when NAATI calls practitioners, educators and government language service provider representatives from around Australia to a meeting in Canberra to establish a national professional association.
- 1991 - ASLIA, based in NSW, is established as the national peak organisation representing the needs and interests of Auslan/English interpreters and Deaf (Relay) Interpreters in Australia. It encompasses the previously established State organisations, which continue to also exist independently.
- 1995 - First AUSIT Code of Ethics completed, endorsed by NAATI and adopted by AUSIT at its National Annual General Meeting. It is later adopted by all other Australian T&I associations
- 1997 - ALiTrA, founded in the mid-1990s, begins publishing a journal with funding from the Literature Board of the Australia Council, showcasing the work of Australian translators.
- 2010 - ALiTrA changes name to AALITRA, the Australian Association for Literary Translation, reinforcing its position as a national organisation to promote interest in all aspects of literary translation.
- 2011 - APESMA (now Professionals Australia), supported by a network of 25,000 professionals and contractors Australia-wide, is the union chosen by a group of practitioners, in Victoria and other States, to represent the interests of T&I members. In 2014, it obtains ACCC authorisation to collectively negotiate the terms of engagement for its T&I members who operate as independent contractors. Together with AUSIT and ASLIA, it is a member of the NAATI Transition Roundtable.
- 2012 - The Revised AUSIT Code of Ethics is written in recognition of the significant development and diversification of the field in Australia, and the growing attention to ethical issues in interpreting and translation around the world. This occurs in consultation with a working group of Australian academics, NAATI and the T&I professional associations.
- 2014 - AUTIF, the Australian University Translating and Interpreting Forum, is established by university educators, practitioners, and researchers from all over Australia, to showcase translation and interpreting (T&I) at local, national and international levels.