How are Auslan-English Interpreters Employed?

There are several possibilities for how Auslan-English interpreters may be employed.  These include:

Freelance practitioner/interpreter

Most Auslan-English interpreters are self-employed and/or work as freelance interpreters.  In this instance, they schedule work assignments, handle their own accounting obligations and are responsible for all business aspects.

Interpreting service providers/agencies

A freelance interpreter may also receive assignments through interpreting service providers/agencies, such as state Deaf Societies or other agencies.  These interpreters are usually employed as casual employers, who are paid only for the specific assignments for which they are booked.  They receive standard rates of pay, are covered by the agency’s work cover insurance policy and are usually covered by the agency’s professional indemnity insurance.

Salaried staff

Many organisations employ permanent part-time and full-time interpreters.  The types of organisations who do this include state/territory Departments of Education, state/territory Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, and state Deaf Societies.  Such organisations may also employ interpreters as coordinators of their interpreting services.  Interpreters employed by these organisations are salaried employees, covered by the employer’s insurance policies and enjoy a range of other employment benefits.

Auslan and/or Interpreter Training Programs

Auslan-English interpreters may also be employed to teach Auslan and/or work as interpreter trainers for training providers or higher education institutions.  These interpreters may be employed as casual contractors or as salaried staff.

In employment in Australia, Auslan-English interpreters need to be highly skilled, versatile and flexible as well as be able to work in a range of settings.  Additionally, interpreters need to expect that work is irregular and, in some ways, highly seasonable.  This means that those who work as either freelance interpreters or as casual employees need to plan for times of the year when very little income will be available.  In the Auslan-English interpreting industry, this quiet period generally falls between mid-December to mid-February each year.