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Interpreting services

Everyone has a right to an interpreter so they can access the services they need and be given information in their own language to participate in decisions that affect their lives. To make sure language is not a barrier for parents/carers accessing services and supports, access to interpreting services and translated materials should be offered when working with families who have limited English. Access to translated material is helpful, however this is not appropriate for all families as there may be other barriers to consider such as literacy skills.


When working with a parent/carer who has limited or no English skills make it standard practice to offer an interpreter.

It is important that language is not a barrier for parents/carers accessing services and supports and that families are aware of their rights and feel comfortable to ask for an interpreter where they need.

What you can get

Interpreters work via telephone, video or on-site at your service, and there are times when each method is appropriate.

It is not appropriate to use children, family members, friends or other untrained people as interpreters.

How to access

Many programs and services are funded for an interpreter so that there is no cost for families, children or young people to access services, including:

  • Funded kinder programs in both a stand-alone and long day care setting,
  • Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services
  • Government schools
  • Public hospitals
  • Local government programs, including Central Registration and Enrolment Scheme (CRES)and CALD Outreach Initiative
  • Access to Early Learning (AEL) providers

Anyone can ask for an interpreter at any time so it is important all professionals know the process of accessing an interpreter in their program.

This visual tool can be used to ask families which language is required when using an interpreter.  

When working with a family who has limited English skills:

  • Make it standard practice to offer an interpreter, asking in a respectful and open manner such as, ‘which language would you prefer us to use in the meeting?’
  • Confirm the language, dialect and gender preference of the interpreter before booking.
  • Determine if telephone or face-to-face interpreting would be more suitable for the situation.
  • Book an interpreter in advance and ensure the booking has been confirmed.
  • Consider the seating and room set-up to promote clear communication.
  • Introduce yourself to the interpreter before meeting with the family, explaining the nature of the meeting.
  • Face the family member when speaking to them and avoid directing your communication to the interpreter.

Expanded interpreting and translation supports for early childhood services in 2024

The Department of Education has expanded interpreting and translation supports for early childhood services in 2024 to strengthen engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) families. As a result, more providers now have access to a range of free services, including qualified and accredited telephone, video, and onsite interpreters through LanguageLoop.

For the first time, free translation services for written documents will be available in 2024 for all department-funded kindergarten services through LanguageLoop. Translation categories include:

  • newsletter articles
  • notices
  • information on programs
  • assessments of learning and development
  • individual child goals/learning and development goals. 

For more information, please refer to Expanded interpreting and translation services. For information on how funded kindergarten services can request a translation, please refer to Use an interpreter in early childhood education services.


Foundation House and Language Loop have some helpful resources to guide our work with interpreters:

The Victorian Government also has resources to support your work with interpreters in early childhood services.