Interpreter use in general practice - Information for GPs

Where can I find an interpreter?

Last revised: 02 Aug 2023

Where can I find an interpreter?

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) is an interpreting service provided by the Department of Home Affairs for people who do not speak English. This service is available for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients, including while at their GP. While some TIS National services can incur a fee, medical practitioners are able to access the Free Interpreting Service when delivering Medicare rebatable services in private practice.

TIS National has:

  • more than 70 years’ experience in language services
  • access to more than 2700 interpreters in more than 150 languages.

Once GPs have registered for a TIS National client code, they can access the Free Interpreting Service to provide services to anyone in Australia who is eligible for Medicare. TIS National customers are free to choose either a male or female interpreter to align with patient preferences and can access interpreters in all states and territories, no matter where the GP resides. Practice support staff working with a private medical practitioner registered with TIS National can also access the service using the same client code. TIS National provides a job number at the start of every call which should be recorded by GPs and practice staff in the consultation notes for reference purposes. These job numbers are useful if a practice needs to provide evidence for why a longer-than-normal MBS consultation item was billed, or if the practice is charged for a translation service they believe should be free.

Interpreting services available include:

  • immediate phone interpreting
  • pre-booked phone interpreting
  • pre-booked on-site interpreting
  • telehealth video interpreting service.
More information is available on the TIS National website: Free Interpreting Service for private medical practitioners