03 July 2011

The new points test and "credentialled community languages"

The new financial year has started and so has the new points test for General Skilled Migration to Australia. I have looked at the details of the new test on my website.

One of the peculiarities of the new test that deserves special comment is the 5 points awarded for a "credentialled community language". Under the old test, points were available for anyone who was competent in a designated foreign language, with competency demonstrated by having completed a Bachelors degree in any subject that was taught in that language, or alternatively having a professional level translating or interpreting accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

The new category drops the university qualification entirely and replaces it with a paraprofessional NAATI accreditation. So what?

In the greater scheme of things, I suppose 5 points is not a large component of a test which has a pass mark of 65. For some people of course it could be make or break, and it will certainly be of greater significance from July next year when the new "SkillSelect" model will not have a fixed pass mark and applicants will need to try to maximise their points in any way they can.

As someone who has a long personal history in the translating and interpreting field over 30 years, with professional qualifications in four languages other than English, I feel the need to make a few comments all the same.

Do these people have any idea of what they are doing? Did anyone ask a professional linguist (that is, someone who has studied the science of language called linguistics, not someone who speaks several languages)?

Using a translating or interpreting test as a measure of a person's ability to communicate in a given language is a nonsense. The skill sets involved are totally different. Particularly when the level is reduced to what NAATI calls paraprofessional, formerly known as level 2, which is about the standard you can get from a good computer program, what is happening is that you are using a criterion from one discipline to measure competency in another.

But using the wrong test is only one of the problems with this new criterion. A test is a test, but not if you can't actually sit for it. NAATI conducts paraprofessional translating tests in only a few specific languages (like Swahili and Nuer), so for most people the only option is an interpreting test. No such tests are not available outside Australia, and according to my investigations with NAATI, nor do they have any intention of offering them overseas. It is not clear how long the waiting period for testing in Australia will be once the applications start hitting the desk at the NAATI head office.

The boys and girls at Belconnen (DIAC HQ) should make the trip to Deakin (NAATI HQ), via the School of Languages at the ANU, to get a bit of basic education in linguistics, and then have a second go at this one.

1 comment:

Narinder said...

Dear Sir Jones,

I am writing to you through this blog.

Sir there are lots of rules that need to be considered as i have gone through your whole website and i find i may get some assistance or you may do something.

Is their any possibility that we can write to DIAC and DIAC can think about their policies!!! what i am trying to do is????

Gather overseas students and try to post to DIAC or any concerned body about the common fact, for e.g:

DIAC is promoting RSMS but it is really very very hard to get Sponsorship in Regional Australia.

If overseas students or workers can open a business in regional parts of Australia and yes DIAC can monitor whether business is operating or not?

I think that will work for both. Regional parts can be developed and overseas students will Residency.

their are lots of issues the 2nd issue is:


overseas students have to access their studies from relevant accessing authorities.

now point is, if student already studied at authorized college or University then still they need to access their studies. somehow we can adjust with this system but the major point is:

I have seen lots of students get letters from DIAC that your skill accessment was fake on that grounds they have to leave the country.

Don't you think it is rubbish?

its Australia's accessing authority who give us positive assessment.

what DIAC is trying to prove that their assessing authorities are not doing their duty? or they are challenging their own systems which was build by them as their is no such country who will challenge their colleges or education system.

Sir i need your opinion on above comments.

please ignore spelling mistakes if i made coz its 12:24 am and m sleepy.