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Record one million calls for interpreting services.

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Laurie Ferguson MP Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services

Record one million calls for interpreting services 6 July 2009

A record one million calls were made to the Australian Government’s Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) in the 2008-09 financial year.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, said today it was a milestone in the provider’s 36-year history.

TIS National is a Department of Immigration and Citizenship interpreting service for people who do not speak English, and for English speakers who need to communicate with them.

'The Department’s recent launch of a business card-sized I Need an Interpreter card, which has an ‘I speak’ space for clients to include their native tongue, has raised awareness among communities of the service,' Mr Ferguson said.

'Never before have so many people contacted TIS National for interpreting assistance,' Mr Ferguson said. 'In 2008-09, TIS National has provided 17 per cent more telephone interpreting services than in the previous year.

'This achievement speaks volumes about the Government’s Access and Equity Strategy. It affirms that this strategy is working for culturally and linguistically diverse members of Australian community.'

'It is encouraging that more private enterprises now realise that going the extra distance to assist non-English speaking people is not only the right thing to do but it can also boost their business.

The Melbourne-based TIS National Contact Centre (131 450) services all of Australia and provides phone interpreting around the clock in more than 160 languages and dialects.

Mr Ferguson said a growing number of non-English speakers are now more confident about using this TIS National interpreting service.

'TIS National helps non-English speakers communicate with government departments, private businesses, emergency services and community-based

organisations,' Mr Ferguson said. 'In many ways, interpreters help non-English speakers to participate more fully in Australian social and economic life.'

The highest demand languages in 2008-09 are (in order): Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Korean, Persian, Turkish, Spanish, Greek and Russian. On-site interpreting is also available by appointment.

Media contact: Carla Wilshire 0432 755 935

URL: /parlsec/media/media-releases/2009/lf09039.htm Last update: 06 July 2009 at 09:23 AEST