Communities and Justice


We want to ensure no-one is disadvantaged because they do not speak English or have difficulty speaking or understanding English. The department has an obligation to provide qualified and trained interpreters when conducting interviews, discussing complex matters, or when dealing with sensitive issues.

In most cases, family and friends cannot act as interpreters but can stay during an interview or meeting to provide support. Children should never be used as interpreters.

DCJ and interpreters

If you need an interpreter to call the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), please ring the free Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450 and ask them to contact the office you would like to speak to. You will need to give the Translating and Interpreting Service the phone number you would like to call.

If you are meeting with DCJ staff, an interpreter can be provided either by phone or on site. A phone interpreter is immediate and can be arranged 24 hours, seven days a week. An onsite interpreter can be arranged for formal interviews and to explain complex information, for meetings with family members, and to provide a sight translation of written documents.

Housing – interpreters and cultural support

If your matter is housing related please ring All Graduates Interpreting Service on 1300 652 488 for a free interpreter and they will connect you with Housing.

If you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and wish to speak to an Aboriginal staff member regarding Housing, please call 1800 422 322 and let the operator know and they will arrange this for you. (Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm).

How does an interpreter help communication?

An interpreter is there to help two or more people who do not speak the same language communicate with each other.

The interpreter must:

  • Be impartial. The interpreter cannot help you or the other side. They can only interpret the words each person uses.
  • Keep everything that is said and interpreted, confidential.

The interpreter cannot:

  • Add to or subtract from the communication, but only interpret what has been said.
  • Provide you with advice or give their opinions or any other assistance.
  • Conduct the session.
  • Speak to you outside of the interpreting session.

If you require an interpreter, talk to our staff. For compliments or complaints please see a manager.

Last updated:

27 Jun 2023