Skip to main content

Interpreting scenarios can vary significantly, so knowing what type of interpreting service suits you and your team is an important step in planning for and booking your interpreting service.

Be sure to consult with the Deaf person on your team to ensure the interpreting service you book is right for them as well as the other members of your team.

Common methods of interpreting:

Onsite or Face-to-Face Interpreting

Onsite interpreters attend your booking in person.

Some situations where onsite interpreting is often needed include:

  • Appointments with a doctor, allied health, school, tax agent or workplace
  • Matters that are complex, Legally binding and/or lengthy
  • Involve a large number of people
  • Where additional access requirements are needed, such as visual field or tactile interpreting.

When booking an onsite interpreter, keep the following in mind:

  • Onsite interpreting typically requires booking in advance.
  • Most Auslan and language service providers have a minimum fee for onsite interpreting, which can be a 1.5 – 2 hours minimum.
  • In rural and regional areas, the availability of onsite interpreters in some languages may be limited.
  • There may be an additional charge for travel in rural areas.

Video Remote Interpreting

In Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) scenarios, interpreters attend your booking using audio-visual technology such as a computer, laptop or tablet. This technology enables communication between clients and an off-site interpreter.

Examples include:

  • Emergency appointments
  • Workplace meetings
  • NDIS planning meetings
  • Parent-teacher interviews

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, booking of VRI interpreting increased significantly out of necessity. It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of VRI and how it might impact on your booking.

  • VRI can be a cost effective alternative to onsite services
  • VRI can be useful if an interpreter is required at short notice
  • VRI can be useful for quick communication in the workplace with a colleague or manager
  • VRI can be more readily accessible in regional and rural areas where interpreters are not always available
  • You will need a good internet connection and the right equipment
  • VRI is not suitable for conferences or large groups of people in a room
  • VRI works best with 1-4 people and when everyone is familiar with working with an interpreter

To see if VRI will work for you, request a trial from your VRI provider.

Interpreting for Media and Live Performance

Interpreters who work on television, with film or for public performances and events require specific training and usually plenty of advanced notice.

Auslan on film

If you want to produce an educational or promotional video in Auslan about your organisation or production, it is best practise to employ a native Auslan user (usually a Deaf person) to complete this work. You may need to book an Auslan interpreter to work alongside the Deaf person so ensure communication amongst your team.

Specialist Interpreting Agencies

There are specific agencies that you can contact to book interpreters for specialised bookings such as emergency announcements, theatre productions and public events.

For a list of interpreting agencies to see which one is right for you, click here.

Professional interpreters adhere to a code of ethics that includes strict confidentiality requirements. This is the same for all interpreting options.

Sourced from: