English language translation policy


This policy sets out AUSTRAC's approach to English language translations for 'cash dealers' as defined in section 3 of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act) and 'reporting entities' as defined in section 5 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). Cash dealers and reporting entities are collectively referred to hereafter as 'regulated entities.'

AUSTRAC's regulatory oversight ranges from large entities with highly sophisticated internal controls and systems, to small entities with relatively simple office systems. Regulated entities considering this policy statement should acknowledge that it has been purposely kept general in order to accommodate the spectrum of business sizes and types and accordingly, regulated entities should interpret the information having regard to their own particular circumstances.


This document outlines AUSTRAC's policy regarding the translation into English of any document required to be produced to AUSTRAC by regulated entities under the FTR Act and AML/CTF Act. The policy also sets out AUSTRAC's approach to, and the expectations of regulated entities in, complying with obligations under the AML/CTF Act and Chapter 1 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 (No. 1) (AML/CTF Rules).

Policy objectives

AUSTRAC aims to create and promote a culture and environment of continuous voluntary compliance with the FTR and AML/CTF Acts. It is the aim of the AUSTRAC English language translation policy to enhance compliance by advising regulated entities on AUSTRAC's approach to English language translations.

AUSTRAC recognises that some regulated entities such as branches of foreign banks and providers of designated remittance services may not use English as their primary language in the operation of their normal business activities (including record keeping).

This policy clarifies AUSTRAC's expectations concerning:

  • when material is required to be provided to AUSTRAC in English [1]
  • the standards to which a document should be translated
  • who meets the costs for a document to be translated into the English language.

AUSTRAC's approach to English language translation

Where a regulated entity is required to produce to AUSTRAC a document relating to the operation of the FTR Act or the AML/CTF Act, for example, the reporting entity's AML/CTF program, AUSTRAC requires that this will be available in English for the purposes of inspection and review.

It is AUSTRAC's expectation that translations into English are performed to a standard consistent with the accreditation level of 'Professional Translator' awarded by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI) or an overseas standard comparable to the Australian NAATI accreditation. Details about NAATI, accreditation and accredited translators are located at www.naati.com.au or by contacting the NAATI Hotline on 1300 557 470 from anywhere in Australia.

In accordance with NAATI standards, the Professional Translator level represents the minimum competence for professional translation. Translators are able to convey the full meaning of the information from the source language into the target language in the appropriate style. Translators at this level are able to work across a wide range of subjects involving documents with specialised and technical content.

AUSTRAC would accept a situation where the translation was undertaken by a translator who is fluent in both English and the primary language the regulated entity's records are maintained in, provided it is consistent with the NAATI Professional Translator standards.

Where a regulated entity is required to have a document translated into English before producing it to AUSTRAC in accordance with the operation of the FTR Act and/or AML/CTF Act, it is AUSTRAC's policy that any costs associated with this would not be borne by AUSTRAC.

AUSTRAC expects that translations from documents produced by regulated entities will be made available within a reasonable time frame. The time frame will be set out at the time the request is made between AUSTRAC and the regulated entity.


You can expect that AUSTRAC will:

  • abide by our Guiding Principles of efficiency, equity, integrity and transparency as set out in our Supervisory framework
  • comply with the provisions in the AML/CTF Act relevant to our conduct and objects
  • review this policy regularly to ensure its currency with the provisions of the AML/CTF Act.

AUSTRAC expects that you will:

  • make honest, genuine and all reasonable efforts to understand and comply with the obligations under the FTR and AML/CTF Acts
  • make honest, genuine and all reasonable efforts to ensure information provided to AUSTRAC is accurate and translations are performed to the appropriate standard.


The AUSTRAC Help Desk may be contacted for a range of AML/CTF queries including the English language translation policy.

Email: contact@austrac.gov.au

Phone: 1300 021 037 (8.30am-5.00pm EST)



PO Box K534

Haymarket NSW 1240

1 Chapter 1 of the AML/CTF Rules defines 'primary non-photographic identification document' to mean any of the following: a citizenship certificate issued by a foreign government, a birth certificate issued by a foreign government, the United Nations or an agency of the United Nations that, if it is written in a language that is not understood by the person carrying out the verification, is accompanied by an English translation prepared by an accredited translator; and in relation to any 'primary photographic identification document', if it is written in a language that is not understood by the person carrying out the verification - is accompanied by an English translation prepared by an accredited translator.

The content on this website is general and is not legal advice. Before you make a decision or take a particular action based on the content on this website, you should check its accuracy, completeness, currency and relevance for your purposes. You may wish to seek independent professional advice.

Last updated: 11 Jul 2023
Page ID: 203

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