What is NAATI Accreditation?

NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. You may have come across the acronym if you have ever had to have a document translated for an Australian visa application and wondered what NAATI is. The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters establishes a certification system for those people who would like to offer their services as interpreters and translators. If you are wondering what NAATI is used for then the answer is that many government departments, businesses and organisations demand that translations are carried out by NAATI accredited translation services.
For example, if you are an engineer and have been provisionally accepted for a job in Australia, you will need to apply for a temporary residence visa to cover the contract period of your proposed employment. If your personal and professional documents are in anything other than English you will need to have them translated by an accredited translation services.

How to Gain NAATI Accreditation

NAATI accreditation is a sequential process. You will need to complete a course for translators or interpreters which is approved by NAATI to gain accreditation as a professional translator or interpreter. The course must have a system of assessment which is equivalent to the tests that NAATI itself devises. If you have already had professional experience as a translator or interpreter and are wondering how to get NAATI accreditation, you can take the tests directly without having to complete a course.
For those who are bilingual and have acquired professional translation certification outside Australia, then how to become an accredited translator may be an application directly to NAATI which accepts certain overseas certification.
If you think that how to become a NAATI translator is not really necessary, then you may find that your ability to find sufficient translation work is seriously limited. If you are able to translate a language which is of limited usage, you may be able to apply to NAATI as a recognised translator rather than a certified translator, an easier process.

The levels of NAATI accreditation

NAATI as an accreditation authority maintains a differentiated system of accreditation depending on the skill level of the translators and interpreters who apply for accreditation and the demand for these skills.
Basically, there are three levels of accreditation. Each of the two types of NAATI accreditation, i.e. translators and interpreters are subdivided into:

  • Recognised translators or interpreters: the lowest level (NAATI Level 1);
  • Professional translators or interpreters: the basic professional level (NAATI Level 2);
  • Advanced translators or interpreters: the highest level to which most translators or interpreters usually aspire to (NAATI Level 3);

There is a further level, specifically for interpreters, which is the conference interpreter accreditation level.
As interpreting and translating are basically rather different in the types of skills involved, the pathways to the advanced level (or conference level in the case of interpreters) are separate. That makes the types of NAATI accreditation available restricted to either a translator pathway or an interpreter pathway. A recognised translator would be unlikely to apply to sit a NAATI test to become a professional translator and vice versa.

Reasons for using a NAATI accredited translator

All translations required for immigration and citizenship purposes in Australia must be completed by a translator who has NAATI accreditation for immigration. If you are applying for a job, then the need for NAATI accreditation for immigration will depend firstly on the language used for your professional or trade documentation such as your qualifications and evidence of job experience. It must be either in English or translated into English.
It is generally easy to find a suitable NAATI birth certificate translation agency or a freelancer who may offer a more attractive rate than an agency. Many NAATI agencies that offer a NAATI birth certificate translation service have a special cheaper rate for standard documents.
You will find that as long as your translation requirements are within Australia that nearly all translation agencies use NAATI accredited translators. Non accredited translators may be used for services rendered offshore.
The whole point of having an organisation like NAATI is that it is a virtual guarantee of high quality and accuracy of translated documents. This doesn’t equate to every NAATI translator having the skills to translate any type of document. Most translators, whether they are NAATI accredited or not, tend to specialise in the type of material they translate.

Cost of NAATI Translations

Most translators and translation agencies have fees that are based on the word count rather than time per hour. NAATI translation fees for basic standard personal documents like birth certificates, police clearance certificates and driving licenses tend to be cheaper than other documents and may be a standard price. Typical fees in Australia are between $65 and $100 for each document.
The NAATI translator price for more unusual languages and emergency translations (ones required in a hurry) is likely to command a premium fee.
Conclusion
The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters, a private company jointly owned by the 7 Australian states, 2 territories and the federal government, is the primary method by which translation quality is assured within Australia. Professional translation agencies like X2Y Translations always use NAATI accredited translators and can therefore ensure that translations performed are of the highest standard and will be accepted by all Australian government agencies, private businesses and employers around Australia.

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