AUSIT National Conference 2023

Panel discussion at AUSIT conference with 7 panelists in front of a PPT presentation
The ‘Interpreting in courts and tribunals’ roundtable. Photo credit: Matthew Georges

23–25 November, University of New South Wales, Sydney, on Bedegal country

Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters

On an unusually cool, grey Thursday afternoon in Sydney, the Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters (AUSIT)’s largest-ever annual conference (with around 500 attendees from around Australia and overseas) was opened by AUSIT National President J. Angelo Berbotto and UNSW Deputy VC Professor Colin Grant. The ensuing two-and-a-half-day programme of workshops, presentations, roundtables, and more delved into the crucial role that translators and interpreters play in facilitating communication and understanding across diverse cultures, communities, and industries. It also provided the opportunity to reflect on essential next steps in the national space, where important policies and protocols relating to translation and interpreting have been published, but not fully implemented.


The plenary by Tish Bruce (Executive Director, Health and Social Policy Branch, NSW Ministry of Health), ‘Interpreting in health care settings’, highlighted how the Ministry’s mandatory directive ‘Standard procedures for working with health care interpreters’ underscores the significance of interpreters in such settings more fully than guidelines in other states/territories.

The Honourable Justice François Kunc (Equity Division, Supreme Court of NSW), speaking on ‘Working with interpreters in courts and tribunals’, noted that we are at a critical point in our journey to ensure that adherence to the Recommended National Standards for working in these settings becomes an integral and routine part of court proceedings.

Associate Professor Erika Gonzalez (RMIT University / AUSIT immediate past president), speaking on ‘Community translation protocols and translator tools’, focused on AUSIT’s engagement with the national taskforce to improve both the translation of messages of public significance and tools developed to this end.

Networking Dinner

Attendees caught up with old friends and made new ones at the conference’s main social event. A spectacular floorshow (Indian dancers plus the Colombian Cultural Folkloric Organisation) wowed the room, and the dance floor was full until late.

During dinner, the 2023 AUSIT Translation Competition winners were announced and the AUSIT Excellence Awards 2023 – recognising initiatives and activities by individuals/organisations operating in all sectors of the T&I industry – were presented.

A valuable resource

The most coveted giveaway (and winner of an AUSIT Excellence Award) was the Aboriginal Interpreter Service’s Plain English Health Dictionary. The 150 copies generously donated by AIS ran out early on Saturday, disappointing many attendees who hadn’t already snapped one up. The AIS assure us the valuable resource is being reprinted, while a digital copy can be downloaded for free here.

The end of the event… and the inauguration of a new tradition

The national president helped attendees keep tabs on session start times by vigorously wielding the brand new AUSIT Conference Bell – a large, elegant brass handbell that will be handed from one organising committee to the next from now on. During the closing ceremony, Angelo ceremonially handed the bell, engraved with ‘AUSIT – 36th National Conference – Sydney’, over to the Victorian Branch, who will organise the 37th AUSIT National Conference (21–23 November 2024).

AUSIT Communications Team

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