Section 1 - Introduction

The Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) is pleased to provide this manual to help individuals prepare for the court interpreting test. Whether you are a currently accredited MAG court interpreter or considering becoming an accredited MAG court interpreter, this manual will be very helpful.

The role of a court interpreter is fundamental in ensuring that justice is administered fairly and comprehensively. Section 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: "A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter." This is a right provided for all persons and in all languages. Accessibility to an interpreter ensures that a Charter right is not violated and that all parties can participate in the legal process.

Court interpreters are expected to bring a high level of skill and professionalism to their work. The responsibility of a court interpreter in the justice system is a tremendous one. The court interpretation test evaluates various skills required to interpret in court and the degree to which they are developed. This manual has been prepared by Vancouver Community College to provide an overview of what is included in the test and some practice exercises to familiarize you with the test format.

Along with the exercises provided in this manual, you are also encouraged to review basic legal terminology. A glossary of legal terms is available in both English and French on the MAG website.

Multilingual legal terminology is also available on the Vancouver Community College Multilingual Legal Glossary website.

Other ways of preparing for the test include:

  • Daily use and practice of your language;
  • Reading in your language;
  • Listening to radio and television broadcasts in your language;
  • Short-term memory development and training exercises; and
  • Shadowing (listening to a passage and repeating it simultaneously).

You can gain confidence in your simultaneous interpreting by practicing shadowing at the beginning and then, as you improve, by practicing simultaneous interpreting with those exercises you have already shadowed.

Whether you already interpret in the courts, or are interested in becoming a court interpreter, these exercises can help you develop and maintain court interpretation skills.

Thank you for your interest and commitment to providing high quality court interpreting services in Ontario's courts.

Lynn Norris
Director, Corporate Planning Branch
Ministry of the Attorney General


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