Testing Assessment and Accreditation


Information to follow


Information to follow

Australasia & Oceania

Australasia & Oceania

Report on teaching & assessment procedures and accreditation programs in the different countries of the region

Currently there are only established professional associations, training and accreditation programs in two of the countries in the region: Australia and New Zealand.

Contact has been made with Kate Nelson, who is currently working as a deaf development project officer in Fiji, working with the Deaf community to develop recognition of sign language, support sign language research and to train interpreters. A representative from New Zealand recently visited Fiji to assist with for the purposes of sign language research training, and two Australians will provide an intensive interpreter training program in August 2006.

Many years ago a deaf Australian, Ian Rogers, visited the Solomon Islands to liaise with the deaf community. But there are no current links. Some people from Western Samoa recently visited Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand on a fact-finding excursion about teaching of sign language and interpreting, so it is hoped this will develop into a close collaboration.

Thus this report concentrates on the provisions available in Australia and New Zealand.
(Parts of this report have been adapted from: Napier, McKee & Goswell (2006). Sign Language Interpreting: Theory & Practice in Australia & New Zealand (pp. 168-174). Sydney: Federation Press.)



Australian interpreting qualifications are regulated by one body – the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Auslan has been included in NAATI’s testing schedule since 1982 – this makes Australia one of the few countries in the world that accredits spoken language and signed language interpreters through the same system. NAATI accreditation can be gained by either sitting for (and passing) a practical examination or by successfully completing a NAATI-approved course (for example, at TAFE). All interpreters are expected to have NAATI accreditation before accepting paid interpreting work. Currently, there are two levels of accreditation for Auslan interpreters: ‘Paraprofessional’ and ‘Interpreter’:

Paraprofessional level

This is the entry level for interpreting. NAATI defines it as:

“A level of competence in interpreting for the purpose of general conversations, generally in the form of non-specialist dialogues … interpreting in situations where specialised terminology or more sophisticated conceptual information is not required [and]…a depth of linguistic ability is not required”

In reality, paraprofessional interpreters often work in settings that require professional level skills. They provide the bulk of interpreting services in educational and various community and employment settings, such as medical appointments, job interviews, staff meetings, and training workshops.

Interpreter level

This is the professional level for interpreters, defined by NAATI as:

“The minimum level of competence for professional interpreting … [and] may be regarded as the Australian professional standard. Interpreters are capable of interpreting across a wide range of subjects involving dialogues at specialist consultations…[and] interpreting in both language directions for a wide range of subject areas usually involving specialist consultations with other professionals…[as well as] interpreting in situations where some depth of linguistic ability in both languages is necessary.”

Accredited Interpreters work in a wider range of settings, including university lectures, conferences, public events and court.

Accreditation assessment involves candidates sitting a one-off test, which incorporates practical interpreting tasks and knowledge elicitation. The structure of the tests differs slightly according to the level of accreditation.

Paraprofessional level test

Section 1: Social and Cultural Awareness (5 minutes – 5 marks)
Four questions – two in Auslan, two in English
Section 2: Ethical Issues (5 minutes – 5 marks)
Four questions – two in Auslan, two in English
Section 3: Dialogue Interpreting (20 minutes – 45 +45 = 90 marks)
Dialogue 1: Consecutive Mode
Dialogue 2: Simultaneous Mode

Interpreter level test

Section 1: Dialogue Interpreting (30 minutes – 35 +35 = 70 marks)

The first dialogue is to be interpreted in the consecutive mode while the second dialogue is to be interpreted in the simultaneous mode.

(These dialogues incorporate questions on social/cultural awareness and ethics of the profession in both Auslan and English)

Section 2: Simultaneous Interpreting (30 minutes – 10 +10 + 10 = 30 marks)
Passage 1 = 400 words (English into Auslan)
Passage 2 = 300 words (Auslan into English)

At present deaf people cannot become certified as interpreters. However, ASLIA National has recently been contracted by the National Auslan Interpreting Booking & Paymern Service for medical interpreting (NABS) to research, develop and pilot a certification process for deaf interpreters. The project officer employed, Della Goswell, has experience of training and assessing interpreters, and of curriculum development.

Professional development

ASLIA National hosts an annual winter school and conference, involving a range of plenary presentations and workshops. The invited speaker for the 2006 conference is Dr Betsy Winston from the USA.

Professional development workshops are offered regularly by ASLIA state branches and Auslan interpreting service providers, such as the Deaf Societies in each state. Currently the Western Australian Deaf Society require all interpreters on their register to complete a minimum number of hours of professional development per year in order to remain on their books. The Victorian Deaf Society has also introduced a similar system recently.

NAATI are currently consulting on the notion of introducing a ‘re-validation process’, which will involve practitioners demonstrating the maintenance of their translation/interpreting skills and professional development through a system of points. They have referred to RID’s system as a benchmark. For more information see here.


For interpreters wanting to become accredited at the paraprofessional level, training courses are available at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges in most states. Currently students undertake a one-year part time course, and on successful completion, attain a TAFE Diploma and NAATI Paraprofessional-level accreditation.

There is a National Curriculum for the spoken language interpreting Diploma and Advanced Diploma, which is adapted by individual TAFEs for the purposes of training sign language interpreters.

In order to gain Interpreter level accreditation, students can enrol in an Advanced Diploma at RMIT in Melbourne or a Postgraduate Diploma at Macquarie University in Sydney. Both of these programs require Paraprofessional accreditation as a minimum pre-requisite.

In order for students to graduate with NAATI accreditation at the appropriate level, the program must be approved by NAATI.

New Zealand


The minimum qualification to work as an NZSL interpreter is the BA NZSL-English Interpreting (since 2013), or the earlier qualification, the Diploma of Sign Language Interpreting (DipSLI). There is no external accreditation body for sign language interpreters.

Professional development

SLIANZ hosts an annual conference with plenary presentations and workshops, and invited speakers from New Zealand and other countries. SLIANZ and interpreter booking agencies offer professional development workshops throughout the year in different locations. Completion of PD points is a requirement of full membership of SLIANZ.


Professional training for NZSL interpreters has been offered since 1992 through the Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting (DipSLI) program at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). This was a two-year full time undergraduate course, with an entry requirement of basic NZSL proficiency. In 2011, the DipSLI was replaced by a three-year Bachelor’s degree. The BA NZSL-English interpreting accepts students with no prior knowledge of NZSL, and has a greater practicum component.

In 2010-2011 the Postgraduate Diploma in Auslan/English Interpreting from Macquarie University was offered in New Zealand in collaboration with Victoria University Wellington. One cohort of qualified interpreters completed this qualification and gained NAATI level 3 accreditation. There are no current plans for the program to be offered again in New Zealand.

Te Reo Maori

The AUT program recruits some students who are speakers of Te Reo Maori, in order to address a need for interpreters who can interpret between Maori, NZSL and English in Maori settings and at public events where Maori is used as one of the languages of official proceedings. The course does not specifically teach translation between Maori and NZSL, but aims to equip Maori interpreters with knowledge of sign language interpreting principles and techniques that they can apply to the use of Maori as a working language. The availability of trilingual interpreters is important for Maori deaf people who want to participate in hearing Maori contexts and to access knowledge of their cultural heritage.



University of Oslo
University College in Bergen
University College in Trondheim

All these sites are in Norwegian

All interpreters in Norway are trained at the institutions listed above. They need to pass their exams to get work. In some rare cases unskilled interpreters are being used.

North America

Evalution programmes

National Association of the Deaf (NAD) – Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) – National Interpreter Certification (NIC)
RID Certification – National Testing System
RID Generalist (Certified Interpreter (CI)/Certified Transliterator (CT) Exam
Visit the RID website at www.rid.org and use the SEARCH facility to access the details above


The Canadian Evaluations Systems objectives
The Written Test of Knowledge | Phase 1
Preparation | Phase 2
The Test of Interpretation (TOI)| Phase 3
The Certificate of Interpretation (COI)| Phase 4http://www.avlic.ca/Evaluations.htm

Conference of interpreter trainers

CIT is the Conference of Interpreter Trainers and its’ accreditation processes are known as the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education. They accredit interpreter-training programmes.

South America

Details to follow

Transcaucasia & Central Asia

Details to follow



If you would like to submit your information for inclusion on this page, then please send details to your WASLI regional representative.