Australia’s multicultural landscape has changed significantly over the last few decades.

The growth of multicultural communities has, as a result, generated a growing demand for translators and translation services as well as interpreters.

“The migration journey for anyone leaving their country to settle in Australia can be a challenging one. The costs of migration are very high, and often, when you arrive in a new country, you don’t know where to go and what services exist. A lot of migrants start getting their documents organised when they are still in their home country. And at some point, they make contact with their local providers here to get their documents translated, lodge their visa application and make their move to this beautiful country. We understand this, and that’s where we come in.” said Chris Dammann, Director of The Migration Translators.

The translation industry, as a result, has grown over the years, and whilst there are other providers that offer advice, The Migration Translators are one of the largest translation service providers in the migration industry.

They have extensive knowledge and experience in helping people along their migration journey to Australia.

“What I particularly enjoy is the communication with people from very different walks of life. It could be a humanitarian refugee from Africa one day and a CEO from a Brazilian company the next day, so it’s a very diverse audience we’re talking with. It’s really great being a part of the migrant story and helping people on their journey,” added Chris.


CulturalPulse asked Chris to share some interesting insights and opportunities on four key areas involving the translation services industry. 

1. How can you get your documents translated for free by the Australian government?

Holders of certain types of visas can get key personal documents translated for free by the Australian Government.

These include birth certificates, change of name certificates, divorce documents, educational qualifications, employment documents occupational licences, vaccination documents and police checks.

Click here to read more on the free translating service.

“The documents have to be personal so they have to be in your own name,” Chris explained.

Not everyone is eligible for this service, though, as it depends on your visa subclass.

It can be used by most permanent and some temporary residents on many different visa subclasses.

The main condition is that the visa must have been granted in the last two years.

“Our key objective is to help the migrant settlement process in Australia and to boost employment outcomes to make sure people are in a good position to find a job in Australia, to get their skills recognised and to contribute to Australian society,” Chris added.


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2. Border closures: What documents should you have available when applying for a travel exemption?

During the unprecedented challenges we are all facing with the Coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions placed on international travel, there are a lot of questions around who is allowed to travel, or who can leave the country with a travel exemption.

There are restrictions when you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia.

You are essentially only allowed to travel overseas if it is for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the trip is for your business or for your employer
  • You need urgent medical treatment overseas that is not available in Australia.
  • You are travelling for a very important reason for three months or longer.
  • You are travelling on compassionate grounds.
  • You are involved in COVID support in other countries
  • It is in the national interest

The important thing is that when applying for travel exemptions, you need to submit the reasons why you believe you should be able to travel, whether for medical or family or business, etc. and with the appropriate supporting documentation.

Of course, if the supporting documents are not in English, you will need to get these translated into English.

“Interestingly, whilst translations related to general migration services have dropped off because the migrant intake is lower, the enquiries related to travel exemptions have increased because there are so many question marks on everybody’s mind – so that’s where we focus our efforts,” Chris explained.

Click here to find out what documents you need when applying for a travel exemption.


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3. What should you look for when seeking the services of a NAATI-certified translator?

Most government agencies require that translations are carried out by a NAATI-certified translator.

NAATI, the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd, is the national standards and accreditation body for translators and interpreters in Australia.

It’s the only organisation in Australia to issue certifications to translators who wish to work professionally in Australia.

The most important criterion in Australia when using a translation for official purposes is that the translator holds NAATI credentials.

So how do you find a NAATI translator? You can either search for a for a “translation service provider”, or you can search directly through the NAATI database.

“Individual translators’ skills vary of course, so it is very important to check with the translator that he or she has experience in migration and in translating personal documents. For example, getting job titles or education levels translated correctly is important, because often the approval of a visa application hinges on your qualifications, so you really want to get that right. Our translators are all experts in migration,” explained Chris.


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“The advantage of working with a translation agency is that they have already done this shortlisting of translators in that specialised area, and the final product meets quality standards such as ISO17100,” he added.


4. What is it like to work as a translator or interpreter, and how can this be a good job opportunity?

In terms of the two main areas of the language industry, it’s important to understand the difference between translating and interpreting.

Translating refers to working with written documents, and that’s something you can do in your own home office or at a desk with a computer.

“I am a NAATI-certified translator for German and English and I can recommend this occupation. I thoroughly enjoy my work! The most important aspect to consider when entering the translation industry is that you will most likely work as a freelancer, which also gives you the freedom of operating a small business,” Chris said.

Interpreting involves the interpretation of spoken languages either over the phone or in a physical setting, for example at a law office or in a hospital, so this means you need travel to your clients and work on site.

There has been a recent significant shift towards phone interpreting, which also includes Zoom calls. Everyone who can use phone interpreting will use it, and on-site interpreting is, at the moment, being avoided at all costs due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“There is always a big demand for Arabic, the Indian languages, and other Asian languages – notably Chinese, Korean and Japanese – but we are also seeing a lot of European languages, especially French, Spanish, German and Portuguese,” Chris added.

Click here to visit the NAATI website, to learn more about the different pathways towards accreditation.


Chris Dammann, Director of The Migration Translators, grew up in Frankfurt, Europe’s financial capital and the fifth most populated city in Germany. Pre-COVID-19, Frankfurt was one of the busiest airport hubs in Europe.

During his high-school days, Chris was inspired by foreign languages and studied French, Latin, Spanish and English.

He migrated to Australia in 2006 and has been in Australia for 15 years. In this time, the German communities have also grown in Australia, with significant populations now in all capital cities around Australia.

Whilst he loves to connect with the German community in Australia, he is just as inspired by the rich diversity of all cultures in Australia.

Chris believes that Australians are on a good path in terms of multiculturalism, and that it’s the efforts of everyone involved, every single migrant and every single person without a migrant background, that contribute to an open and tolerant country.


Chris Dammann


“Both countries are multicultural, but Australia has taken a more proactive approach to managing its multiculturalism. In Germany, investment in a proper system of targeted immigration and multiculturalism has been limited, whereas here in Australia we have decades of experience and a structured approach to developing a multicultural society, which is a big advantage,” Chris explained.


Image source: The Migration Translators


Keen to learn more about the great opportunities in the Translation Services industry? Contact our team at [email protected]