Section 1 - Introduction

The Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) is pleased to provide this manual to help you prepare for the court interpreting test. Whether you are a conditionally accredited Ministry of the Attorney General court interpreter planning to retake the test, or are applying to become an accredited Ministry of the Attorney General court interpreter, this manual will be very helpful.

A court interpreter is fundamental to 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.

The responsibility of a court interpreter in the justice system is a tremendous one and interpreters are expected to bring a high level of skill and professionalism to their work. The court interpretation test evaluates the skills required to interpret in court as well as the degree to which they are developed. This manual provides an overview of what is included in the test and some practice exercises so you can get familiar with the test format.

Along with the exercises provided in this manual, you are also encouraged to review basic legal terminology. Please see the glossary of legal terms available in both English and French on the MAG 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
  • Shadowing (listening to a passage and repeating it simultaneously)

You can gain confidence with shadowing exercises by practicing slower passages at the beginning and then, as you improve, practicing with progressively faster ones.

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

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