FAQs

  1. Why did the Ministry develop an accreditation model and how does it work?
  2. How can a conditionally accredited interpreter become accredited?
  3. What type of training is provided to interpreters?
  4. How are the current tests different from the previous test?
  5. How were the tests developed?
  6. What is the format of the tests?
  7. How are the tests scored?
  8. How were the 24 bilingual test languages determined?
  9. What are the 24 language tests?
  10. Who overees the tests?
  11. Where does the testing take place?
  12. What support does the ministry provide to interpreters prior to taking the tests?

Test results

  1. What happens if an interpreter is not successful taking the test?
  2. Can an interpreter appeal his or her score?
  3. What is the appeal process?

  1. Why did the Ministry develop an accreditation model and how does it work?

    Court interpreting is a highly skilled profession. Interpreter accreditation models are used in other jurisdictions to recognize the range of skills among the interpreting community and to assign interpreters to appropriate court matters. Ontario is the national leader in implementing this type of world-class interpreting model.

    Our model includes two levels of accreditation:

    • Accredited - interpreters must achieve a score of 70% in each section of the test
    • Conditionally Accredited - interpreters in the conditionally accredited category did not achieve a score of 70% in each section of the test but did achieve more than 50% in each section.

    Accredited interpreters are generally assigned to more complex court matters.

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  3. How can a conditionally accredited interpreter become accredited?

    In addition to the self study required to take the test, interpreters at the conditionally accredited level are encouraged to attend test preparation classes free of charge. These preparation classes build on the test preparation material that is available online and provide helpful information on how to use the online material. Practice time is built into the sessions to supplement what candidates are already doing to prepare themselves to take the test.

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  5. What type of training is provided to interpreters?

    The Ministry provides a two-day training program for all accredited and conditionally accredited freelance interpreters. Conditionally accredited interpreters must also complete a skills development plan. Proof of training may be required before conditionally accredited interpreters can take the test again. A training resource list is sent to conditionally accredited interpreters with their results letters.

    The ministry also provides test preparation classes free of charge. These classes build on the preparation material available online and provide information on how to use the online material. Practice time is built into sessions to supplement what candidates are already doing to prepare themselves to take the test.

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  7. How are the current tests different from the previous test?

    The previous test was a standard language interpretation test. The current tests are specific to courts and are based on actual court documents and trial transcripts from Ontario court proceedings. This approach ensures the tests match a realistic court interpretation experience.

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  9. How were the tests developed?

    Court interpreter tests were developed in the ministry’s 24 highest demand languages (representing approximately 85% of all interpretation provided in Ontario). The test passages were taken from actual Ontario court transcripts and represent what interpreters can expect to hear in a real courtroom setting.

    The English Court Interpreter Test (ECIT) is a unique undertaking. English tests used in other court jurisdictions are limited to an English proficiency assessment, which does not include an assessment of interpreting aptitude - a vital component of the tests that were developed. The English test helps determine interpreter strengths but also target areas for skills advancement.

    The Court Interpreter Test for the First Nation courtroom is based on the English test and was adapted to meet the needs of the First Nation courtroom. Like the English test, it evaluates both English language proficiency and interpreting aptitude. Test passages were selected from court transcripts and other documents from First Nation courtrooms.

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  11. What is the format of the tests?

    There are three court interpreter tests - a bilingual test using English and another language, an English test, and the Court Interpreter Test for the First Nations Courtroom.

    1. The bilingual test consists of:
      • Sight translation of written text from English into the interpreter's language and from that language into English
      • Consecutive interpretation of a witness's testimony, with counsel's questions interpreted into the other language and the witness's answers interpreted into English
      • Simultaneous interpretation of one dialogue and one monologue from English into the interpreter's other language.
    2. The English test consists of:
      • Oral recall of a short passage in English
      • Consecutive dialogue with pauses for the interpreter to repeat in English
      • Shadowing, which is listening to a continuous passage in English and repeating it in English while the original speaker continues speaking
      • Sight and consecutive where the interpreter does a sight translation of a written text from English into the other language and later provides an interpretation of that sight translation back into English.
    3. The First Nation Courtroom test consists of:
      • Oral recall of a passage in English
      • Consecutive dialogue with pauses for the interpreter to repeat in English
      • Consecutive interpreting of a text which can be read and heard in English and is translated into the First Nation language. The text is divided into several segments which are later interpreted back into English.
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  13. How are the tests scored?

    The court interpreter tests are scored in two ways and evaluate the many skills required in court interpreting.

    Global scoring evaluates:

    • Understanding and communication of meaning
    • Grammar and structure
    • Mastery of general vocabulary and basic legal terminology
    • Recognition and reproduction of registry of voice, i.e. formal or informal speech, neutrality
    • Fluency of delivery
    • Ability to speak clearly and understandably
    • Use of appropriate stress and intonation

    Detailed scoring evaluates:

    • Grammar and structure
    • General vocabulary, specialized terms, register of voice
    • Grading specific numbers, names, words or phrases adding precision or emphasis
    • Words and phrases likely to be omitted due to their position in the text

    The overall score reflects a combined proficiency in the target language and the skills required for interpretation, rather than a straight indication of the number of words that are accurately translated. The English tests provide an indication of the interpreter’s aptitude and English proficiency.

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  15. How were the 24 bilingual test languages determined?

    While the Ministry provides court interpretation services in over 80 languages, the 24 new language tests developed are for the most commonly used languages and account for approximately 85% of the interpretation provided in Ontario’s courts. Interpreters wishing to be accredited in other languages are tested using the English court interpreting test.

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  17. What are the 24 language tests?

    The 24 language tests are:

    • Albanian
    • Arabic
    • Bengali
    • Cambodian / Khmer
    • Cantonese
    • Farsi/Persian
    • Filipino / Tagalog
    • French
    • Greek
    • Hungarian
    • Italian
    • Korean
    • Mandarin
    • Polish
    • Portuguese
    • Punjabi
    • Russian
    • Serbian
    • Somali
    • Spanish
    • Tamil
    • Turkish
    • Urdu
    • Vietnamese
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  19. Who oversees the tests?

    They are administered by a team of proctors trained to specifically administer the ministry's tests.

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  21. Where does the testing take place?

    The testing takes place in court locations across Ontario.

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  23. What support does the ministry provide to interpreters prior to the tests?

    Two test preparation manuals are available to help interpreters prepare for the tests – one for the English court interpreter test and the other for the bilingual test.

    Manuals include:

    • A description of the equipment required to practice
    • A glossary of terms used in the manual
    • An overview of the test
    • An explanation of the different exercises on the test
    • Step-by step descriptions of how to practice for each exercise
    • An overview of the grading system
    • Tips for taking the test
    • A selection of practice exercises

    A DVD and manual that describe how the test is to be administered is provided to individuals taking the Court Interpreting test for the First Nation courtroom. Practice exercises are on the DVD and in hard copy.

    Additionally, the ministry provides test preparation classes free of charge. These classes build on the test preparation material that is already available online and provides information on how to use the online material. Practice time is built into the sessions to supplement self-study.

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    Test Results

  25. What happens if an interpreter is not successful taking the test?

    If an interpreter is not successful taking the test, he/she will not be added to the ministry's Registry of Accredited Freelance Court Interpreters as an accredited interpreter.

    Unaccredited interpreters are provided with a list of resources to assist them with improving their interpretation skills. Learn more about becoming a freelance court interpreter.

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  27. Can an interpreter appeal his or her score?

    The overall results of the test show that the pass rate matches or even slightly surpasses the pass rates in other comparable court interpreting tests.

    If there was an irregularity, error or procedural mistake in the administration of the test that may have affected the result, the interpreter can choose to appeal the test score. An interpreter cannot appeal simply because he or she wasn't accredited.

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  29. What is the appeal process?

    In order to appeal, an interpreter must provide written notification within 60 days of receiving the test result letter. The notification letter should be addressed to:

    Manager, Court Interpretation Unit
    720 Bay Street, 2nd Floor,
    Toronto, Ontario M7A 2S9

    The letter should provide as many details as possible and, at minimum, must contain:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Date and time of test
    • Language
    • Reason for the appeal

    The letter must be signed and dated.

    The appeal will be investigated and a reply will be sent to the interpreter. Outcomes could include allowing the interpreter to re-take the test, having the test re-marked, or determining if the original decision should stand.

    If an interpreter is allowed to re-take the test, it will be scheduled as soon as possible, and a different version of the test will be used. If the appeal is denied, the original test results will stand.

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