Campaign for Australia’s hardworking translators and interpreters launches today

Translators and Interpreters Australia, a branch of the union Professionals Australia, has launched a new campaign Many Languages – One Voice, to improve the wages and conditions of workers providing vital translation and interpreting services to our community right across Australia.

Professionals Australia CEO, Jill McCabe, said that despite the critical role they play in our community, the treatment of translators and interpreters in Australia does not reflect their value.

“Translators and interpreters play a critical role in our community, particularly during the pandemic, in ensuring that all Australians can communicate and access the important medical, health and legal services they need. “But despite their importance to our community, translators and interpreters are underpaid and undervalued.

“Translators and interpreters often receive less than the $20 per hour minimum wage when costs are included, or no pay at all when they are on call.

“They have no job security, often working for multiple service providers where they aren’t entitled to leave, penalty rates, workers compensation and in some cases, superannuation.

“That’s why we’re launching the ‘Many Languages – One Voice’ campaign to improve wages and working conditions for translators and interpreters, and to get them the respect they deserve.”

Bisa Surla, a translator and interpreter in the Serbian language said that while her work was fulfilling, the wages and conditions made her job extremely difficult. “I’ve been working as an interpreter in Australia for over 15 years. I love my job and I’m good at what I do, but the poor pay and conditions make it very difficult for me to make ends meet.

“When I started, the hourly rate for interpreting on average worked out to around $10 and there has been little improvement in wages and conditions since.

“We don’t receive sick leave, holiday pay and are not paid for travel time. I have to accept the pay and conditions I am offered or I receive no work at all.”

Ms McCabe said that the Many Languages – One Voice campaign aimed to bring together everyone who values the work that translators and interpreters do.

“We’ll share stories about the exceptional work translators and interpreters do in our community to build public support.

“Together, we’ll strongly advocate for business and government to deliver better pay and working conditions for translators and interpreters nation-wide.”

You can find out more about the Translators and Interpreters Australia campaign, Many Languages – One Voice here.

Media contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414783405