Interpreter credentialing, testing and training in Australia: past, contemporary and future directions

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This paper focuses on public service interpreting in Australia, which, like many predominantly Anglophone countries, had policies and practices that openly discouraged bi- and multi-lingualism and that marginalised translation and interpreting. A change to this occurred in the mid-1970s when social policy caught up with post-WWII reality and multiculturalism became a cornerstone of public policy at all levels. Virtually overnight, national policy required the establishment of a national body that registered suitably attributed interpreters and translators to service the needs of non-English-speaking residents. This has led to the development of T&I infrastructure that is responsive to larger and smaller, older and newer linguistic groups, but which encounters attendant difficulties in the harmonisation of standards of practice amongst interpreters across different languages. The relationship of testing to training is examined and this paper concludes with data on those currently entering the sector: statistics are provided from a sample of 50 trainees, attending an introductory, 40-hour course entitled ‘Entry-level Interpreting’ on their motivational and career-aspirational features, and on their views and experiences of interpreting practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-81
Number of pages23
JournalFITISPos International Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • public service interpreting
  • government language
  • pedagogy of interpreting
  • trainee interpreters
  • services policies

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