To become an Auslan-English interpreter, you must first be fluent in both Auslan and English. For some individuals who wish to begin the journey to become an Auslan-English interpreter, it will be necessary to begin learning Auslan from scratch. Others may already have some level of Auslan fluency because of relationships with Deaf family members or friends.
For someone who has no knowledge of Auslan, the journey begins with locating an Auslan acquisition course. These are usually offered as a Diploma of Auslan at a TAFE institute. Studied over two years full-time, the Diploma of Auslan provides most learners with some level of Auslan proficiency. It is important to recognise that fluency in Auslan will develop further, over time after the completion of the Diploma of Auslan which includes using the language within the Deaf community. This is true with the acquisition of any language.
For those who already have some level of Auslan fluency because of a personal relationship, it can sometimes be more challenging to know where to begin. Much depends upon your level of Auslan competency and/or fluency. In assessing this, it is important to realise a number of factors, which include but are not limited to:
- the significant amount of language variation that exists in Auslan
- that it is possible to have a reasonable level of language competency – for example, you are able to hold social conversations – and yet not have sufficient Auslan fluency to undertake interpreting to the requisite standard for accreditation
For those in this position, it is recommended that you seek to undertake an Auslan language assessment prior to attempting to gain NAATI certification.
To summarise, fluency in Auslan may take many years to obtain and you may need to spend considerable time within the Deaf Community, immersed in their language and culture.
Once sufficient fluency has been obtained, you then need to gain NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) certification. Click here to see more information about NAATI certification.
During your examination for certification, you will need to demonstrate:
- sufficient fluency to successfully undertake the language transfer of the required dialogues and/or monologues, with limited errors,
- understanding and competence in relation to the interpreting Code of Ethics,
- understanding and competence in relation to the cultural, linguistic and social issues within the Deaf Community, and