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How to become an Auslan Interpreter

Australian Sign Language (Auslan) interpreters provide communication between hearing and deaf people by converting spoken language into sign language and vice versa.

If you love helping people, are good with languages and have a great memory, this could be a rewarding career choice for you.

About you:

  • Fluent in Auslan and English, other languages could be beneficial too
  • Exceptional communication skills (including body language and facial expressions)
  • Adaptable within various settings and cultures
  • Compassionate with the ability to remain neutral and professional

The job:

  • Providing continuous, simultaneous verbal or signed replications of speeches between Auslan and English in a number of settings
  • Interpreting for social scenarios including weddings, graduations, funerals, and memorials
  • Working in business and official situations, e.g. schools, courts, police stations, hospitals, social services, at press releases and official openings
  • Translating words into Auslan for news and TV programs, musicians, comedians and other performers
  • Providing interpretations for videos, movies, and online information sources

Lifestyle Impact: Low

  • Part Time opportunities: Very high – around 78% of Interpreters work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 41 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Auslan Interpreters’ salary (median) $23,000* per year (source: ato.gov.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Because this is such a small occupation, you’ll need to have great interpersonal skills and know-how in order to stand out from the crowd and find work.

Auslan Interpreters are most in demand in these locations:

Around 4,000 people were employed as Interpreters in 2021 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Demand for Auslan Interpreters is highest in Victoria and South Australia. Most Auslan Intepreters work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance industries.

How to become an Auslan Interpreter in Australia

Fluency in Auslan takes two years on average, but to qualify as an interpreter could take between three to six years.

Step 1 – Study English and languages at school. If possible start learning Auslan or immersing yourself within the deaf community.

Step 2 – Undertake a relevant qualification. Make sure it’s endorsed by NAATI if you’re hoping to become certified later on (you’ll need to be certified to apply for certain positions).

Step 3 – Improve your skills and get experience interpreting in as many situations as possible.

Step 4 – Complete NAATI’s Certified Provisional Auslan Interpreter Test or Certified Auslan Interpreter Test.

Find out more here –

https://www.naati.com.au/

https://aslia.com.au/

https://www.deafservices.org.au/

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Find out more about alternative careers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it hard to become an Auslan Interpreter?

Even if you already have experience with Auslan, deaf communities, and deaf culture, you’ll have to undergo an accreditation process to qualify. So, while not necessarily difficult, there are steps you’ll have to go through and it could take a little time.

Where do Auslan Interpreters work?

Auslan Interpreters could be required to work in multiple settings. You could find yourself working in community or home environments, offices, studios, clinics, labs, hospitals and other formal settings. Technology such as video conferencing means you could find yourself working remotely and interpreting for a variety of situations each day.

Can you work as an Auslan Interpreter in Australia without a degree?

Having a degree isn’t a requirement for this career, although you will need to obtain a diploma or similar qualification and gain a significant amount of work experience. To be eligible for some jobs you’ll also need certification.

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