Interpreters can be used to ensure that people who need to contact the department, obtain information or a service from one of our agencies, or attend court, are not disadvantaged because of language barriers.

In most cases, the department's documents can be translated.

Speaking on the phone

If you need an interpreter to call the Department of Communities and Justice, please ring the free Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask them to contact the office you would like to speak to.

You will need to give the Telephone Interpreter Service the phone number you'd like to call.

Visiting one of our offices

If you need an interpreter when you visit one of our offices, contact the office in advance and ask them to organise an interpreter for your meeting.

If an interpreter is not available at the office, ask staff to ring the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450.

The telephone interpreter will interpret your enquiry and the staff member's response.

Going to court

If you need an interpreter in a criminal or apprehended violence matter, court staff can arrange an interpreter for the day your case is heard. This service is free.

Advise the court registry that you require an interpreter as soon as you know the date that you will be attending court.

For other court matters, including civil claims, you will need to organise or book an interpreter for yourself.

For more information on interpreters for courts and tribunals, visit the Interpreters and translators page on the Courts, Tribunals and Service Delivery website.

Organising an interpreter

If you need to organise an interpreter yourself, Multicultural NSW can give you information about the booking process and the cost.

Call Multicultural NSW on 1300 651 500 or visit the Multicultural NSW website. Alternatively you can use a private interpreting service.

The role of the interpreter

The role of an interpreter is to bridge the communication gap between two or more parties who do not speak the same language.

The interpreter must:

  • Be impartial. The interpreter cannot help you or the other side. They can only interpret the words each person uses.
  • Keep everything that is said and interpreted confidential.

The interpreter cannot:

  • Add to or subtract from the communication, but only interpret what has been said.
  • Provide you with advice or give their opinions or any other assistance.
  • Conduct the session.
  • Speak to you outside of the session.

If you require an interpreter, talk to our staff. For compliments or complaints please see a manager.

Videos for interpreters

Introduction to Interpreting in the Local Court of NSW
Interpreting in a Hearing in the Local Court of NSW
Last updated:

08 Nov 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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