Welcome to the Central Auslan Booking Service (CABS) As an interpreter registered with CABS you will have access to interpreting assignments that are available at various Victorian VET (Vocational Education and Training) institutes, ie, TAFES and Registered Training Organisations. The times, dates and locations of work vary. CABS is not your direct employer but facilitates the bookings of Auslan interpreters on behalf of Disability Liaison Officers (DLO’s) at VET institutes across Victoria. As a CABS registered interpreter, you will also have access to ongoing professional development which is relevant to the education/VET sector and will assist you in gaining valuable revalidation points towards NAATI re-accreditation. Information on all aspects of the CABS service can be found at our website and on the CABS website.

A pdf version of the document below is available here.

How to register with CABS

How to express interest in work listed on the CABS website

Your role as an Auslan interpreter working in education

Professional Development

The Role of CABS Staff

Working for a VET institute (Disability Support Services)

Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines

Arriving at a TAFE Interpreting Assignment:
>Before you arrive

At the assignment

At the conclusion of your booking

Frequently asked questions


How to register with CABS

To register with CABS please contact the CABS booking staff on 03 9269 8308 or email cabs@melbournepolytechnic.edu.au. We will request to see your original NAATI accreditation and Working With Children Check. Once we have cited your documentation we will create a username and password for you to use to login to the CABS booking system where you will be able to view and tender for jobs.

How to express interest in work listed on the CABS website

Once you are registered with CABS you will have a username and password. You will need to log into the CABS website to view all available jobs. Not every job in our system is visible, for various reasons. More detailed instructions on using CABS can be found here (pdf).

  1. Log in to CABS with your username and password
  2. Select Tender for Bookings on the left side of the screen. This will list all available bookings. Bookings are updated and managed on a daily basis. Take some time every few days to browse through the bookings listed.
  3. To tender for a booking select the box next to the job number and select Tender at the top of the screen. This will send an expression of interest to CABS booking staff.

The CABS booking officer will confirm that they have received your expression of interest (EOI) by the end of the next working day. If you do not receive this confirmation via email or SMS by the end of the next working day, please contact the CABS office to ensure your EOI has been successfully received. In addition to the bookings displayed on the CABS website, CABS booking staff also send text messages to Auslan interpreters advising of upcoming work as it arises, especially if the request is urgent or the interpreter has worked with that student/subject previously. If you do receive an SMS, you should reply and send a message back to the booking staff advising whether or not you are available. Please quote the job number, student’s name or date to avoid confusion. Alternatively, you can call the office. When you are assigned to a booking (i.e. your EOI has been successful) CABS will send you an SMS/automatically generated email to confirm all the details relating to that booking. You can also view your bookings under View Your Bookings on the CABS website. If you would like to know why you were not successful with your EOI please do not hesitate to contact CABS booking staff.

Your role as an Auslan interpreter working in education

CABS is committed to referring high quality, ethical and professional Auslan interpreters to TAFE institutes. Whilst we are not the employer, we do expect interpreters to undertake the following responsibilities in the course of their work and in general terms, it is expected that all CABS registered interpreters:

  • abide by the Australian Sign Language Interpreters Association (ASLIA) Code of Ethics
  • provide a communication link between the Deaf student, class teacher(s) and classroom peers during all classroom interactions
  • are aware of their own skills, abilities and limitations and only accept work they are able to undertake to the best of their ability
  • develop strategies to assist themselves to thoroughly prepare for classroom interpreting using tools such as class text books and/or handouts provided by the teacher, subject outlines and the internet (Google search engine)
  • maintain professional boundaries at all times
  • utilise classroom ‘down time’ in a professional, non-disruptive manner, for example:
    1. if they are working with a tandem interpreter, avoid chatting about social issues (even in Auslan) unless it is related to the class interpreting process
    2. don’t make or accept phone calls or SMS messages
    3. avoid reading magazines or books other than preparatory content for the current or a forthcoming class.

Professional Development

Each year CABS provides a range of professional development activities to support educational interpreters. CABS is dedicated to the professional development of individual interpreting practitioners as well as to development of the interpreting profession as a whole. Our primary aim is to provide quality access to students who are Deaf and hard of hearing who require the services of Auslan interpreters. Interpreters are able to record their participation for continual commitment to learning, maintaining and improving knowledge, skills and abilities in relation to their work, and gain recognition from colleagues, employers and the profession for their dedication through attendance at professional development activities. <

NAATI Revalidation and Substantiation of Work

On 1 January 2007, NAATI commenced the implementation of the new system of Revalidation of Accreditation. From this date all new accreditations (and those who chose to ‘opt in’ to the new system) will be valid for a period of three years. At the end of the three years, practitioners will have to:

  1. Apply for Revalidation of Accreditation or Recognition by showing evidence of a minimum amount of Continuing Practice in interpreting in accordance with the accreditation
  2. Show evidence of a minimum amount of Professional Development activity
  3. Keep records of Working Assignments and Professional Development
  4. Make application for revalidation of accreditation at least one month prior to the expiry date of your accreditation

Your accreditation will be valid for a further three years if revalidation is awarded, after which you will need to revalidate again. Professional Development via a TAFE Institute satisfies the compulsory NAATI criteria under ‘Maintenance of Language’ as this can only be provided by a TAFE. Advice provided to us by NAATI is that we cannot actually provide substantiation of assignments undertaken by interpreters booked through CABS because we are merely the booking agent and not the paying party (i.e. the employer). However, having said that, we are able to provide evidence that an interpreted event was booked to take place on a given date and this, in conjunction with the pay slip the VET institute provides (or third party employing agent, in some cases) is sufficient evidence for NAATI to accept the assignment. For further information on NAATI revalidation requirements please visit NAATI and ASLIA.

The Role of CABS Staff

CABS booking staff understand the challenges of working in an education environment as well as the challenges faced by DLOs in the VET sector. The CABS service is a brokerage service and staff act as agents between VET institutes and Auslan interpreters. Booking staff aim to remain impartial and facilitate information, advice and support for all stakeholders. Our services include:

  • matching job requests with appropriately skilled and qualified Auslan interpreters
  • advising all parties involved about issues relating to the interpretation process, such as the number of interpreters required, how best to work with interpreters and advise on dispute resolution between interpreters and students
  • offering support and guidance on employment related issues and appropriate remuneration for interpreters
  • creating resources for Deaf students, DLOs and teachers
  • conducting researching the use of VRI and Live Remote Captioning to support Deaf students in VET in conjunction with Auslan interpreters and notetakers
  • providing professional development to interpreters, specific to working in the VET sector
  • conducting an annual induction activity

Working for a VET institute (Disability Support Services)

The most important thing you need to understand about the VET system in Victoria is that each institute is a stand-alone entity. Whilst there are some similarities between institutes with regard to policies, procedures and employment condition, they are not standard and they are not transferable. You will therefore need to undergo an induction process for each institute you work for and it is incumbent on you to enquire about your rate of pay and working conditions with each institute where you intend to work. It is in your best interest to confirm the following with the DLO from each institute:

  • rate of pay including after hours pay
  • method of pay
  • whether they require a police check
  • the minimum number of hours paid for an assignment
  • the cancellation policy
  • travel time and mileage for travel outside of the Melbourne metropolitan region
  • professional indemnity insurance requirements
  • staff parking facilities
  • reporting requirements after assignments
  • annual induction process and documentation to be provided

CABS organises annual induction sessions in December/January each year to minimise the confusion and complications that may arise for both parties. However, sometimes new interpreters accept work at institutes throughout the year, which results in individual inductions still needing to be arranged. Ideally, these inductions should occur prior to employment commencing with that institute, though exceptions may be negotiated in extraordinary circumstances. If you have any concerns or questions about this procedure, please contact CABS or the DLO. Ultimately, the DLO is your employer and it is important that you maintain a good relationship with that person. The DLO manages the following:

  • overall support requirements of students with a disability registered with their DLO
  • the relationship between interpreters, Deaf students and teaching staff in relation to student and/or educational issues
  • provision of CABS staff with information relating to all bookings for Auslan interpreters
  • maintaining records of Working With Children Check & NAATI revalidation.

Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines

CABS promotes safe working practices for all interpreters.

  • Interpreters need to be mindful of the hazards associated with their work.
  • To prevent Occupation Overuse Syndrome (OOS) make certain you have
    • a sound understanding of how to manage your own Occupational Health and Safety whilst undertaking interpreting work
    • appropriate work duration, job rotation and rest breaks. Do not work for longer than 25 minutes at one time before alternating with another interpreter.
    • make sure breaks are taken every 25 minutes if working alone and use natural breaks as they arise to further rest forearms
    • knowledge about and adoption of, comfortable, correct postures when working
    • variation in the types of jobs, or the way in which they are performed

    If soreness, pain or other symptoms become noticeable, rest the sore part of the body and report symptoms to the appropriate personnel as soon as possible.

  • Helpful hints
  • never interpret when your hands are cold. Always warm them up first. After a full day of interpreting ‘cool down’.
  • check for chairs which allow for good posture.change positions while you are interpreting: When standing: cradle your hands, shake out your hands, quickly massage hands/arms. When sitting: drop arms to side, massage hands, rest hands in lapincrease sign vocabulary to decrease fingerspellingdo stretching and a range of motion exercises for body and hands.consider alternative preventive and treatment approaches such as therapeutic massage and acupuncture.

The above hints are a guide only, and do not prevent or preclude the development of an injury. If you do have some injury symptoms, please advise your DLO and commence reporting procedures as advised by that institute. As a courtesy, please also advise CABS booking staff immediately in case you need to be removed from an assignment.Arriving at a TAFE Interpreting Assignment:

Before you arrive

  1. Make sure that you have all the details regarding your booking (this information is available on the CABS website once it’s been allocated to you):
    • the address of the institute where you are working
    • time of booking
    • room Number
    • DLO details if you don’t already have them
    • student’s name
    • course/subject information.
  2. Ideally, it is in your best interests to prepare as much as you can prior to the class starting. There are a number of ways you can do this:
    • ask the DLO for course notes/information
    • research at the library of the particular institute(s) where you are employed as you are entitled to access to their libraries and computers
    • conduct an internet search on the subject (use Google)

At the assignment

Arrive early Arrive at least ten minutes before the start of class. If it is the first time you’ve worked at that VET institute, give yourself more time to find parking, classroom etc. In addition, you may get to have a quick chat with the other Auslan interpreter and Deaf person prior to class to find out their Auslan register. This will assist you in your preparation.

Introduce yourself It is a good idea in the first class to introduce yourself to the Deaf person, and ask them if they would like to introduce you or whether they are happy to let you manage that aspect. In many cases, the class teacher may not be unaware of why you are there and may be very confused about your role. It is important to be professional and diplomatic at all times. This will ensure you are able to develop a positive and professional relationship with the class teacher. However, it is important to report any issues to the CABS booking officers and the DLO responsible for the booking. That way any issues can be followed up and resolved quickly.

During the class Your job is to interpret all communication in the classroom from the teacher, Deaf student and other students. During your ‘down time’ it is important you respect the environment that you are working in and avoid conducting any business of a personal nature.

Managing visual material and other resources In education settings, interpreters are often required to manage a wide range of resources and can be caught unaware when they have to interpret videos, audio tapes, handouts and/or Powerpoint presentations. Depending on your relationship with the class teacher, you may be able to find out in advance if and when there will be audio visual material shown in class. Should this occur, ask for advice on how to get access to those resources or the teacher’s notes, or spend some time in between assignment doing some research on the internet or the library. The material is often available for your use. If you are able to view the material beforehand, this will assist you enormously in your preparation especially with foreign names, terms or jargon. You are constantly developing your interpreting skills by building up a body of knowledge, not just for that student but for yourself in your quest to be a highly skilled and professional interpreter.

Working alone The situation can arise where the DLO and the CABS booking staff have been given information from the program coordinator or class teacher of a particular course that justifies assigning one interpreter to an assignment.However, despite every effort, there will be situations where Auslan interpreters are forced to manage a booking that requires two interpreters (i.e. a theory class when it should have been a prac). In a situation such as this, you will need to find an opportunity to have a discussion with the class teacher and advise that you are unable to fully interpret on your own (this is where your relationship with the class teacher can work to your advantage).There are a number of strategies you can implement to assist you in managing this situation.

  • encourage the teacher to build extra breaks into their plan
  • take advantage of ‘natural breaks’ i.e. when the student/s are working alone and walk outside to have a quick stretch
  • take a 10-15 minute enforced break through negotiation with the teacher and student
  • attempt to contact the DLO to advise them of the situation and/or call/text the CABS office straight away.
  • as a last resort, if you suspect that you are at risk of an injury, i.e. you experience tingling in your arms, pain etc then stop immediately and advise all participants that you will need to withdraw from the assignment that day due to the risk of injury.
  • immediately call the DLO and the CABS Office and advise of the situation and request that this be investigated and a review of whether one or two interpreters should be allocated to future classes

Professional behaviour It is expected that all Auslan interpreters will behave in a professional manner which reflects the professional standard of the CABS office and also reflects well on the Deaf students they are working with. Auslan interpreters should be familiar with and conduct themselves at all times in accordance with the ASLIA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct. In addition, as an employee of a VET institute, it is expected that interpreters consider and become familiar with the policies of that VET institute. It is important to remain impartial at all times as an Auslan interpreter. Deaf students are often isolated in a VET setting and may regard you as someone with whom to build a social relationship. This can be detrimental to both parties in the long term, so it is vital that professional boundaries are maintained. The CABS office does not advocate the exchange of telephone/mobile numbers with the Deaf student at any time. If students are unable to attend a class they are to inform the DLO immediately, who will in turn inform both CABS and the Auslan interpreter.As an Auslan interpreter, you work with a number of stakeholders and it vital that teamwork and cooperation are at the forefront of these relationships. The people in your team are the tandem interpreter (if there is one), the class teacher, the Deaf student, the DLO and CABS.

At the conclusion of your booking

If you encounter any issues or difficulties in executing your duties as an interpreter, it is vital that you discuss these with the DLO in the first instance. CABS booking staff are available to debrief and offer advice where appropriate but every effort should be made to resolve issues with the DLO as your employer.

Frequently asked questions

I’ve submitted my Expression of Interest for a booking but I’ve not heard back from CABS.

If you do not receive a confirmation in the way of an email or SMS within 24 hours of making your booking, contact the CABS office

What do I do if the student does not arrive?

In the event that a student has not turned up to class the interpreter should contact the DLO and/or CABS and wait for further instructions. Under no circumstances is the interpreter to take the decision to either stay or go upon themselves and should always wait for confirmation from CABS or the DLO before leaving the assignment.

What if the DLO is not there?

Contact CABS. We will inform you of what action is to be taken. This will depend on the response from other responsible staff regarding the whereabouts of the student.

Who do I contact regarding remuneration?

The DLO for the particular institute is responsible for the ongoing arrangement of payment. Employment arrangements and conditions vary from institute to institute. It is vital that interpreters familiarise themselves with the conditions, policies and procedures of each institute at which they are employed.

Do I have to do an ‘induction’ every year for the same institute?

Yes. All VET institutes are autonomous and have their own policies and procedures. The institutes must ensure casual employees are equally informed of any amendments to policy and procedures and to give them general knowledge of the institute.

What do I do if the teacher does not know how to work with an interpreter?

In circumstances where the interpreter feels that the teacher or lecturer does not know how to work with an interpreter, he or she can do ‘on the spot’ education if the matter is simple. For bigger issues, perhaps he or she could refer the individual to our website, www.deafconnected.com.au which has a wealth of information on teaching Deaf students including some video clips that can be streamed from the internet. deafConnectEd has a free DVD ‘Navigating TAFE’ which is extremely useful for teachers and can be obtained free of charge by contacting CABS or deafConnectEd.

What do I do if I have a grievance with the institute, teacher, DLO or student?

Wherever possible, attempt to resolve the issue locally. A direct approach should be made to the person involved, as well as to the institute involved. This approach should ideally be made during the assignment or immediately afterward. The suggested sequence for dealing with grievances is as follows:

  1. during or immediately after the event, with the appropriate personnel
  2. resolution through contact with the relevant institute’s DLO
  3. talking with CABS and deafConnectEd

It should also be noted that CABS may be contacted at any stage in the above process for advice or assistance.