Interpreters and translators
Contacting courts or tribunals by telephone
If you or someone you know needs an interpreter when you contact a court or tribunal, use the free Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS). Call 131 450 and tell them the telephone number you need to contact. An interpreter will call the number while you are on the phone and translate what the person on the line says to you.
Need an interpreter for court?
For some types of proceedings, the court or tribunal can arrange interpreters. The court or tribunal can also bear the costs of interpreters. Examples of matters in which the court or tribunal can arrange an interpreter include:
- Criminal proceedings
- Applications for an Apprehended Violence Order; or breach of an AVO
- NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal proceedings
- Care proceedings in the Children's Court
- Proceedings in the Coroner's Court
- Proceedings in the Industrial Relations Commission
- Appeals of any of these matters except Care Proceedings Appeals in the District Court
If you are not sure whether an interpreter can be arranged for you, contact the registry of the courthouse or tribunal which you will be attending.
To request an interpreter, contact the relevant registry. If possible, do this at least one week before the date you need to attend court. If you are in court or in a tribunal, tell the judicial officer that you need an interpreter. An interpreter will be arranged for your next court or tribunal appearance.
Arranging your own interpreter
For most civil proceedings, you must arrange and pay for your own interpreter. You can arrange an interpreter through the NSW Community Relations Commission Language Services Unit, or any accredited independent interpreting service. You can search for interpreters by language and location on the website of the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
Interpreters for court and tribunal proceedings must have at least a level 3 accreditation from NAATI.
If you need documents translated for a court or tribunal matter, you can arrange a translator through the NSW Community Relations Commission Language Services Unit, or any accredited independent translator.
The Department of Social Services provides a free translation service for non-English speaking people settling permanently in Australia. This service can be used only by eligible people in the first two years after entry to Australia.