Interpret in general dialogue settings (LOTE)

This unit describes the outcomes, skills and knowledge required to interpret from a source language to a target language in general dialogue settings, preserving the communicative intent of the source language. The unit requires the ability to use a range of techniques to assist in the message transfer process and to address problems in delivery.An interpreter in the dialogue setting is required to interpret between two languages in both directions. In a general setting the content is usually broad and routine, the content or complexity of the situation can usually be predicted and planned for, and there are opportunities for error correction. There are typically only two participants and the physical elements of the setting permit the interpreter to manage the discourse to ensure that utterances are suitable for retention and recall.No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication


This unit applies to interpreters working in consecutive and Auslan simultaneous modes, either alone, collaboratively, in tandem or as part of a team. Miscommunication that may occur in this setting is readily managed through consultation and preparation.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Receive and analyse source message

1.1 Establish dialogue protocols with participants in a professional manner to facilitate communication dynamics and outcomes, and provide clarification where required.

1.2 Attend actively to source utterance, and identify and address factors affecting communication flow.

1.3 Determine linguistic, non-linguistic and structuralelements of discourse, and identify and address factors affecting meaning.

1.4 Identify and address issues of understanding or recall in a manner that does not compromise effective delivery.

2. Transfer message to target language

2.1 Transfer communicative intent of utterance into target language using techniques to ensure impartial delivery.

2.2 Identify and address issues in message transfer promptly and according to established techniques.

2.3 Maintain flow of communication and manage discourse in a professional and culturally appropriate manner.

2.4 Monitor interpreting process to identify when it is necessary to seek assistance or withdraw from assignment.

3. Evaluate interpreting performance

3.1 Evaluate performance in line with issues encountered, assignment requirements and code of ethics.

3.2 Determine personal impact of assignment and identify need for debriefing and counselling.

3.3 Implement strategies to improve future work practices.

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

confirm understanding, and seek clarification or repetition of source message

transfer messages effectively from source to target languages

interpersonal skills to:

ensure behaviour and presentation are appropriate to dialogue setting and cultural conventions

interact with people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and with a range of communication needs

work with others who may not understand interpreting process

interpreting skills to achieve competent message transfer, including to:

adapt embedded cultural concepts for correct transfer

conceptualise and express general and predictable information in target language, maintaining impartiality

include non-verbal clues in message transfer

manage problems of equivalence

reproduce factually and linguistically accurate content

use basic strategies to retain and recall messages

use technical, language and basic discourse management skills to ensure cohesive and faithful delivery of messages

language skills to achieve competent performance

application of correct structures, grammar and syntax to achieve coherent delivery

clear pronunciation

correct use of common idiom, collocations and slang

recognition and use of a range of general and context-specific registers

recognition of common metaphors and similes and implied meaning

vocabulary based on general knowledge and specific to context

literacy skills to prepare required background material and resources

organisational skills to:

arrange work environment suitably

prepare and administer resources and documentation relating to assignments

problem-solving skills to:

address issues in delivery

change conditions to enhance communication flow

manage discourse confidently

research skills to source background information relevant to assignment

self-management skills to:

apply code of practice and legislative requirements to work processes

mentally order information for message transfer

interpret in a professional and impartial manner

seek debriefing and support where required

withdraw from assignment when necessary

Required knowledge

broad general subject and context knowledge, including of community domains

broad general knowledge of cultures and societies of both English and LOTE participants

relevant codes of ethics

concepts of meaning-based message transfer

communication techniques that facilitate interpreting process

cultural knowledge, including cross-cultural perspective of communication and behaviour to:

determine cultural concepts and cues embedded in language

transfer cultural concepts without compromising communicative intent of source

feedback and debriefing techniques

legal requirements, professional procedures and guidelines, ethical practices and business standards relating to interpreters, including:

confidentiality requirements

privacy legislation

professional indemnity

mandatory reporting

duty of care

conflict of interest disclosure


limitations of work role, responsibility and professional abilities

modes of interpreting

OHS and risk management principles and practices to ensure own physical safety and comfort

research methods to source subject and context knowledge relevant to assignment

source and target languages to achieve competent message transfer

basic strategies to assist retention of information and recall of source messages

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms the ability to interpret from a source language to a target language in general dialogue settings, preserving the communicative intent of the source language, including:

applying interpreting and English and LOTE skills required to achieve competent message transfer and competent performance

using strategies and techniques to effectively deliver and preserve the communicative intent and maintain impartiality

using interpersonal and communication skills to interpret in a professional manner appropriate to participants and conditions

using basic memory retention strategies

recognising and resolving transfer problems and correcting transfer errors

applying knowledge of the language, conventions, culture and protocols of a range of general and predictable subjects and contexts

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Evidence for assessment of this unit of competency will make use of scenarios, case studies, experiences and, where possible, examples of interactions with colleagues and clients which illustrate a range of skills and strategies for interpreting in general dialogue settings.

Resources for assessment include:

opportunities to observe and question candidate in a range of interpreting assignments and contexts

examples of personal glossaries and memory aid resources

examples of documentation of client requirements and conditions

examples of debriefing and self-evaluation opportunities taken by candidate

The context for assessment might include simulations of general dialogue settings, and ideally will include observations conducted in real interpreting settings. Evidence for assessment should be gathered to demonstrate a range of experiences in interpreting in general dialogue settings in several community domains.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Protocols may include:

effecting introductions

briefing participants

explaining purpose and process, including pausing utterance when at own limits of recall

confirming confidentiality of information

requesting participant details, such as names and titles

setting and organisational protocols specific to client and interpreting requirements

Attend actively may include:

maintaining concentration and focus

applying subject and context knowledge to anticipate purpose of discourse

identifying strategy being used to develop ideas


complex syntax

dense lexical content

formal register

applying strategies to support retention and recall, including:

reviewing records and recollection of message

recording key information

noting verbal and non-verbal cues

seeking repetition and clarification

close observation of speakers

Factors affecting communication flow may include:

physical adjustments required, such as:

adjusting position and seating in regard to listener or speaker

adjusting lighting and ventilation, and visual and ambient noise

immediate emotional, psychological, developmental, physical, or other states or attributes of participants

factors affecting meaning, such as:

colloquial language

idiosyncratic language use

cultural concepts


paralinguistic elements


direct speech (first person), reported speech (third person)

Linguistic elements and non linguistic elements may include:

colloquial and idiomatic language

idiosyncratic language use



vocabulary based on general knowledge

voluntary and involuntary pragmatic features of speech, such as:

inflection and tone

nuance and intensity of feeling

stress and pitch

voluntary and involuntary prosodic features of speech, such as:


pauses and silence


body language

eye contact

facial expressions

gestures and posture

Structural elements may include:

cultural cues

language cues necessary for following conversation, interrupting or interjecting

interpersonal elements

turning points in an argument

turn taking

Addressing issues of understanding or recall may include:

confirming understanding

checking communicative links

managing cultural and interpersonal dynamics

referring to dictionaries or glossaries

retaining and recalling utterances of sufficient length to ensure delivery is accurate and cohesive

seeking clarification or repetition

Effective delivery may include:

delivery that is appropriate to participants, including:

language that suits participants

conveying message

culturally appropriate verbal and non-verbal behaviour

paraphrasing unfamiliar vocabulary, idiom and abstract concepts

shortening lengthy utterances

speaking slower than normal rate of speech

clear pronunciation and delivery

appropriate register

reflecting dialogue and appropriate to setting

self-monitoring of performance, including self-correction

timely delivery

Communicative intent may include:

checking for understanding in Auslan and Indigenous languages

choosing between literal transfer and the communicative intent of idiomatic expressions

colloquial language

deconstructing complex syntax, dense lexical content and formal register

exercising judgement of embedded cultural concepts

identifying and using common idiomatic expressions

identifying and using loan words or signs

incorporating implied meaning in message transfer

informal and spoken register in the active voice

maintaining logical sequence of source utterance

paraphrasing unfamiliar vocabulary, idiom and concepts

recognising and conveying implied meaning

recognising common metaphors and similes

reflecting speaker characteristics

syntactic simplicity

terminology appropriate to context

transferring cultural cues, such as laughter and euphemism

using correct common collocations

using general standard of expression, style and register

verbalising non-verbal source language elements

Techniques may include:

continuing to interpret while searching references

correcting own errors in a timely manner

delivering in direct, not reported speech

keeping all parties informed


preserving self references

repeating complex instructions

seeking repetition rather than explanation

Issues in message transfer may include:

transfer errors such as omissions, additions or changes that occur as a result of:

misinterpreting, or not transferring sensitively


cross-cultural differences

lack of common context

transfer problems, include:

elliptic, fragmentary or ambiguous source utterances

lack of equivalents

need for paraphrasing

unknown terms

Managing discourse may include:

clarifying terminology and message elements

directing speakers on length, pace and form of spoken delivery

explaining exchanges between interpreter and one party to the other party

using strategies to pause utterance at limits of recall

Issues may include:

assignment requirements

personal preparation

personal competency

maintaining impartiality

code of ethics

necessity to withdraw

requirement for team or relay interpreting

Personal impact may include:

performance stress

occupational health and safety

factors affecting interpreter impartiality

factors affecting interpreter personal safety or comfort, including:

cultural or societal dilemmas

adversarial dialogues

stressful interpreting situations

trauma and tragedy


Not applicable.

Competency Field

Translating and Interpreting.

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.