ASLIA Life Membership is an honour bestowed to members who have rendered special or invaluable services to the organisation well beyond that of a typical member, either at a state or national level. Life membership will only be awarded to a person following consideration of the nomination by the prescribed panel. A life member is entitled without payment of any subscriptions or other monies to all privileges of a financial member of the ASLIA.
Any ASLIA member can recommend another member for ASLIA Life Membership. This would be done on the prescribed nomination form, seconded by another member and submitted to the ASLIA Executive Committee (EC) for consideration.
Careful consideration should be made by nominators who should realise that it is an exceptional circumstance for life membership to be conferred. The key elements that will be taken into account in awarding Life Membership are:

  • an ongoing commitment to ASLIA over many years, either at a state or national level
  • contributions to ASLIA which have enhanced its standing within its membership, the Deaf community and the wider community
  • contributions to ASLIA and the profession that have seen significant enhancement to the profession of Auslan/English interpreting (e.g. participation on ASLIA internal interpreting-related committees participation on external committees, NAATI committees, interpreter training, etc.)
  • commitment which does not seek personal reward, and
  • a high level of recognition from the ASLIA membership of the nominee’s work for ASLIA over a number of years

Click here to download the Life Membership criteria and nomination form.

The following members have been granted Honorary Life Membership as a result of their continued and long-standing contribution to the profession of Auslan-English interpreting.

Dr Meredith Bartlett
Dr Meredith Bartlett
Meredith first had contact with the Deaf community as a teacher of the deaf at VCD in the 70s. She was one of the first freelance interpreters in Victoria in 1981 and has been a committee member of ASLIA Vic since its formation as AVID in 1986 (including being President for 10 years). Meredith worked as a Welfare Worker for the Deaf for 7 years, and then as an interpreter in educational and community settings. She gained her MA in Applied Linguistics from Monash University in 2000, and her PhD in Linguistics at Melbourne University in 2010. She is currently involved in researching Tactile Auslan at Monash University in order to improve interpreter training.
Sandra Leane
Sandra Leane
Sandra has been a founding member of the sign language association in Victoria since it started in 1986 as AVID. Originally a teacher of the Deaf, Sandra (or Sandi as she is mostly known) has always lived and worked in Melbourne. She was accredited by NAATI as an Auslan/English interpreter in 1990 and has worked as an interpreter trainer and practitioner for many years. She has served as an ASLIA Executive Committee member, and as Vice President and President of ASLIA Vic. A proud and passionate ASLIA member.
Professor Jemina Napier
Professor Jemina Napier
Jemina Napier has practiced as an interpreter since 1988. She works between English and BSL, Auslan or International Sign. She first arrived in Australia from the UK in 1998 to do her PhD at Macquarie University. She then set up the PG Diploma/MA in Auslan/English Interpreting at Macquarie, supervised MA & PhD students, and regularly provided professional development workshops. Jemina served on the ASLIA (National) board from 2002-2009 (Vice-President 2005-2007, President 2007-2009). In January 2013 she returned to the UK to take up the position of Professor of Intercultural Communication at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
Robyn Tsapazi
Robyn Tsapazi
Robyn Tsapazi has been involved in ASLIA since gaining her NAATI Accreditation in 1993. In the subsequent years filling the roles of Committee Member, Secretary, Vice President and President of the WA branch and a member of the ASLIA National Representative Council, DI subcommittee and ANC committees she has seen our fledgling organisation blossom into a robust exciting profession that offers much to its members. Being a part of the evolution of ASLIA, she has been fortunate to have met and worked alongside friends and colleagues whom she counts as pillars and champions of the interpreting profession.
Teresa Cumpston Bird
Teresa Cumpston Bird
Teresa became an ASLIA Honorary Life Member in 2003, recognising the important role that she had played in the inception and establishment of ASLIA Vic in the 1980s. Teresa has held many positions in various organisations in the Deaf Community including a 5 year stint on the ASLIA Executive Committee as Treasurer and Secretary.
Dr Karen Bontempo
Dr Karen Bontempo
Dr Karen Bontempo has over 26 years experience as an Auslan / English interpreter and has worked as an interpreter educator since 1996. Her academic qualifications span the disciplines of psychology, linguistics and education. Karen holds a PhD from Macquarie University, where she is an Honorary Associate of the Linguistics Dept and teaches on the postgraduate interpreting program. She also teaches at a local Deaf school in WA, and is a part time lecturer in the interpreting program at the Central Institute of Technology. Karen is the national chairperson of the ASLIA Interpreter Trainers’ Network; serves on the NAATI Qualifications and Assessment Advisory Committee; is a previous President and committee member of ASLIA at both national and at state level; and she has published several journal articles and book chapters regarding her research interests in aptitude for interpreting, evaluation of interpreter performance, mentoring, and interpreting pedagogy.
John Flynn
John Flynn
John began his life-long service to Deaf people as a Welfare Officer with the Adult Deaf & Dumb Society of NSW (now The Deaf Society of NSW) in 1950. He had no knowledge of Sign Language therefore lived in Gordon Davis House Stanmore, the Deaf Young people’s Hostel to learn. In 1956, as there was no formal training for Welfare Workers with Deaf people in Australia, he travelled to Britain and obtained the Diploma of Deaf Welfare. In 1960 he was appointed Superintendent/Secretary of the South Australian Deaf Society. In 1967 he was back to NSW as Senior Executive Officer of the Adult Deaf Society there. In 1968 he was appointed to the new position of Executive Director and Secretary of the Adult Deaf Society of Victoria. He retired from that position in 1993 after 25 years. He was active in the Australian Association of Welfare Workers with the Deaf and the Australian Federation of Deaf Societies, being Secretary of the Federation on ten occasions. During that time he advocated for Sign Language Interpreter training and when the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) was established to accredit Interpreters for people for whom English was a second language, he persuaded the Authority to include Australian Sign language in their testing programme. John was appointed to the NAATI Board and wrote and conducted the first testing programme. He has been a strong friend of ASLIA Vic and ASLIA National in their early years, through practical office support and meeting facilities. In 1984 he wrote No Longer by Gaslight The First 100 Years of the Adult Deaf Society of Victoria, then in 2000 La Trobe University admitted him to the Degree of Master of Arts for researching Some Aspects of the Development of Post School Organisations of and for Deaf People in Australia. In May 1996 he delivered the first J.W.Flynn Oration in Hobart at the National Conferences. The Oration was named in recognition of John’s pioneering work in the field of Auslan/English interpreting in Australia. Although retired from administering organisations for Deaf people, John still interprets in Auslan from time to time.
John Levitske
John Levitske
John, through his family, ,had a life-long involvement with the Deaf Community. He was Executive Director of the WA Deaf Society from 1978 until his retirement in 2008. He was also Secretary/Treasurer of the Australian Federation of Deaf Societies from 1988-93 and again 2002-05. John was also a board member of the following organisations: Australian Deafness Council WA (13 years); WA School for Deaf Children (7 years); WA DeafBlind Association (5 years); ACROD WA (3 years).
The importance of interpreting has always been held in the highest possible regard by John. Accordingly with the recognition of sign language interpreters by NAATI the need for an interpreters course to be established was essential. John was a member of the planning committee which led to the Perth TAFE interpreters course commencing in 1986. John also ensured the WA Deaf Society established an interpreting section separate from the community services area. The need to create a professional association for interpreters was a necessity. John through his position was deeply committed to providing every possible support and encouragement to the inception and formation of ASLIA WA.
Steve Robinson
Leanne Potter