To become an Auslan-English interpreter, you must first be fluent in both Auslan and English.
If you are interested in becoming an Auslan-English interpreter, you may need to begin learning Auslan from scratch. Alternatively, you may already have some level of Auslan fluency because of relationships with Deaf and hard-of-hearing family members or friends.
If you have no knowledge of Auslan
You need to find an Auslan course to start your language learning journey.
Unaccredited community courses
There are a number of unaccredited community courses on offer that you can complete in person or online. These are short courses and will teach you the basics of Auslan. These courses alone will not get you to the level of fluency required to be an interpreter, but they are a great introduction to Auslan.
Accredited TAFE courses
If you want to become fluent in Auslan in a structured learning environment, an accredited course is the best way to achieve this goal.
The Diploma of Auslan is delivered by a TAFE institute or Registered Training Orgranisation. The Diploma of Auslan typically requires 2 years full time study and usually provides most learners with some level of Auslan proficiency.
Learning Auslan takes practice
It is important to recognise that fluency in Auslan will continue to develop over time, long after the completion of the Diploma of Auslan. This is true when learning any language.
Becoming an interpreter
The typical path to becoming an interpreter then involves completion of a Diploma of Interpreting.
Once you are fluent in Auslan and have completed some training to become an interpreter, you may then apply to NAATI for certification.
If you have some knowledge of Auslan
You may be able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in the Diploma of Auslan, or you may apply for direct entry into the Diploma of Interpreting.
Consider your fluency in Auslan
- A significant amount of language variation exists in Auslan.
- it is possible to have a good level of language competency and yet not be sufficiently fluent in Auslan to undertake professional interpreting. The standard needed for certification is different from, for example, being able to easily hold a conversation.
Develop the skills you may need to demonstrate during certification
- 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 professional Code of Ethics
- Understanding and competence in relation to the cultural, linguistic and social issues within the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, and professionalism
Fluency in Auslan may take many years to obtain
You may also need to spend considerable time within the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, immersed in their language and culture.