The Interpreter Symbol is a national public information symbol developed by Victoria in partnership with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. The symbol provides a simple way of indicating where people with limited English proficiency can ask for language assistance when using government services.
You may see the symbol in places that deliver government and community information and services such as public hospitals, police stations, state schools, community centres, housing and employment offices, local councils and migrant resource centres.
The Interpreter Symbol was officially launched in Victoria in May 2006.
What is language assistance?
Using an interpreter is one of a number of ways of helping service providers to communicate with people who have limited English proficiency. Language assistance can also include:
- translated information
- assistance from a bilingual staff member (who has received appropriate training)
- multimedia resources (e.g. a multilingual CD-ROM)
- multilingual information on web sites
- multilingual telephone information.
The appropriate form of language assistance depends on the situation. Many government agencies have language services policies to guide staff in determining when and what type of assistance to provide. Staff can also refer to the .
Using the symbol
All government service organisations are encouraged to use the symbol and promote it to their members and clients.
Download the symbol and resources
The following resources can be used by organisations using and promoting language services:
- Interpreter Symbol - multilingual poster: an A2 sized poster featuring 33 languages aimed at promoting the Interpreter Symbol to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Identifying Languages - multilingual poster: 2 x A4 sized posters that can help people identify the language they may need an interpreter for.
- Interpreter Symbol - desk tent card: A three-dimensional, foldable card that sits in a triangular shape and can be placed on reception counters or tables in client contact areas. It features the Interpreter Symbol and reads: 'Interpreter Services available here.'
- Interpreter Symbol - stickers: 20cm x 20cm adhesive stickers that can be placed on reception counters or client contact areas to promote the availability of interpreting services.
Note that we are only able to provide a limited amount of resources to each organisation.
Development of the symbol
The Interpreter Symbol was developed and tested by the Victorian government with assistance from the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. The symbol was one of five variations designed and tested in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales with over 580 people from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Testing was conducted according to Australian Standard 2342: Development, testing and implementation of information and safety symbols and symbolic signs.
Reviewed 30 August 2019