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More and up to date resources regarding Interpreters in Refugee Health in Queensland see the Refugee Health Network Qld website.


All doctors – GPs and Specialists in private practice have access to free interpreters for all Medicare eligible consultations. A free phone interpreter is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This service is funded through the Department of Social Services.

Interpreters can be booked in advance to ensure that an interpreter is available for the consultation. Interpreters are sourced from across Australia to enhance your access to the right language. It is also possible to book an on-site interpreter for your patient. This service is also free but it depends upon the availability of the interpreters in your regions on that day. It is wise to book an on-site interpreter at least two weeks in advance.

Make a note of the patient’s need for an interpreter and the patient’s preferred language/s and ethnicity (if known) in their chart for future reference. Document that an interpreter was used in the patient’s record including the interpreter’s code.

Doctors Priority Line 1300 131 450

Doctor’s Priority Line provided by the Department of Social Services’ Free Interpreting Service

Register for a TIS National Client Code - General Practitioners, specialists and pharmacists must register to receive an individual code so that they can access this free interpreting services with TIS National. Once the doctor has this code, it can be used each time an interpreter is requested.

TIS National services for medical practitioners (3 minute video clip)

Language identification card - Put this sign in Practice Reception so that patients can point to your language they speak for Practice staff to  arrange an interpreter at no charge. (Developed by Metro South Health, 2016)

The Australian Government Free Translation Service allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to translate personal documents.

  • This service is only available within the first two years of arrival in Australia.
  • You cannot translate documents that are required for visa applications using this service.
  • You must provide evidence of your eligibility when you lodge documents (example: passport with entry stamp or visa label).

Further Reading and Links:

Using interpretersA Guide for GPs - Christine Phillips (2010)

Working with Interpreters – Queensland Health Guidelines

TIS (Translating and Interpreter Service)

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