The Queensland Accessing Interpreters Working Group (QAIWG) was formed in 2008 to address the barriers for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD)  and non-English speaking (NES) backgrounds arising from poor access to interpreters and poor cultural competence of government and community organisations.

The Queensland Accessing Interpreters Working Group is made up of representatives from:

  • Amparo Advocacy
  • Community Legal Centres Queensland
  • Centacare Far North Queensland
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland
  • Immigrant Women’s Support Service
  • Mater Health
  • Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast
  • Multicultural Australia
  • Queensland Program of Assistance with Torture and Trauma
  • Refugee Health Network Queensland
  • Townsville Multicultural Support Group


  • National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters
  • Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators

QAIWG publications

Human Services Quality Framework Guideline and Template

Under the Queensland Government Language Services Policy all non-Government service providers funded by Queensland Government Departments to deliver services, are provided access to fee-free interpreter services by their funding body. Many service providers funded through Commonwealth Government Departments may also be eligible for access to fee-free interpreter services. QCOSS has developed a policy guideline and policy template on engaging and working with interpreters to model how organisations can manage access to interpreters for clients with difficulty communicating in English.

Guide for engaging and working with interpreters in cases of domestic and family violence, and sexual assault (2018)

This QCOSS guide, supported by QAIWG, provides an outline on how to engage and work with interpreters in cases of domestic and family violence, and sexual assault. The guide provides information on who an interpreter is and how they deliver services, how to engage and work with interpreters in cases involving domestic and family violence and sexual assault, cultural interventions by interpreters working in domestic violence and/or sexual assault settings, and what to do when a qualified interpreter is not available and the situation is an emergency. It also includes a checklist with considerations.

Language service needs of women in regional and rural Queensland - survey findings (2015)

As part of its work in 2015, QAIWG undertook a survey of non-government community social service organisations in regional and rural parts of the state to gather information on the language needs of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, migrant and refugee women and women with a disability.

The survey results contribute to the evaluation of the impact of the Queensland Government’s Language Services Policy and Guidelines 2014 and the Australian Government’s Access and Equity Policy and associated Multicultural Languages Services Guidelines. The survey results also contribute to ongoing assessment of the accessibility of language services in regional and rural communities.

Discussion paper: Bi-cultural workers and interpreters - professional roles and boundaries (2015)

This discussion paper explores the difference between interpreters and bi-cultural support workers; when they are required; the standards and considerations to be made when booking an interpreter; and what to do when a credentialed interpreter is not available. 

Discussion paper: Dealing with linguistic diversity in courts and tribunals (2015)

How do the courts respond when the main language and culture of defendants, victims and witnesses are not the dominant culture? This is a question of equal access to the law for Australians of non-English speaking backgrounds. The responsiveness of courts and tribunals to culturally and linguistically diverse communities is a measure of a society’s commitment to equality before the law.

This QAIWG discussion paper from 2015 deals with linguistic diversity in courts and tribunals.

Submission to the Premier's Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence (2014)

In 2014, a submission was forwarded to the Premier’s Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence from QAIWG, convened by QCOSS. This submission highlights the need for access to interpreters to support Aboriginal, refugee and migrant women who are victims of violence. It emphasises the need for police and the courts as well as support services provided by government and non-government agencies to engage interpreters in community languages.

Blueprint for a Queensland language services provider (2012)

In 2012, QAIWG developed a blueprint for Queensland-based language service providers to provide interpreting services (ethnic community languages, Aboriginal Australian languages and Auslan), translating services, specialist training for interpreters working in contexts and access to services through other language service providers as necessary.

This Blueprint continues to be QAIWG’s standard bearer for what is needed to ensure access and quality interpreter services in Queensland.

A Matter of Interpretation (2008)

In December 2008 the QAIWG launched A Matter of Interpretation based on 72 case studies from across the state, presenting a picture of poor performance in Queensland of access to interpreter services by people of non-English backgrounds.

Still a Matter of Interpretation (2012)

In October 2012 Still a Matter of Interpretation showed some good, albeit limited, progress in the use of credentialed interpreters across the justice system, health services, disability services. The report also presented a number of cases studies and a discussion regarding interpreter workforce issues.

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IWSS works with women and children of non-English speaking background who are or have been in violent domestic situations and/or have experienced rape and/or sexual assault. Website: Sexual Assault Program: 07 3846 5400 Domestic Violence Program: 07 3846 3490
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Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland Australian Multicultural Foundation Settlement Council of Australia Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
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Frequently Asked Questions General Questions How can my client access an interpreter... How do I access interpreters if my service is funded by... Resources for working effectively with Interpreters
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