Who Can Interpret at a Tribunal Hearing
Tribunal hearings are conducted in French or English. When a party or witness does not speak or understand either of these languages, the Tribunal will provide qualified, impartial interpreters for the hearing. Tribunal interpreters swear an oath that they understand the language to be interpreted and the English or French language, and that they will interpret well and accurately to the best of their ability at Tribunal hearings. They undertake to maintain the confidentiality of all personal information they obtain while interpreting.
Relatives and friends of parties or witnesses cannot interpret evidence at a hearing.
How to Request an Interpreter at a Hearing
Parties must tell the Tribunal if they or their witnesses need an interpreter at their hearing by completing that part of the Confirmation of Appeal Form and Respondent’s Confirmation of Appeal Form.
Sometimes parties do not know whether an interpreter is needed at the hearing before sending these forms to the Tribunal. If so, parties must request an interpreter as soon as possible before the hearing so that the Tribunal has enough time to arrange for an interpreter to be there.
Information about the Language to be interpreted
A party who asks for an interpreter must provide the Tribunal with precise information about the language and the dialect of the witnesses who will need an interpreter. This will help the Tribunal to arrange for an appropriate interpreter to be at the hearing, and will help to avoid delays and possibly adjournments at hearings.
Tribunal Expectations of Interpreters
Interpreters must provide word for word (sometimes called “verbatim”) interpretation services at the hearing unless the hearing Panel or Vice-Chair directs the interpreter to assist in a different way. Interpreters must not paraphrase evidence or attempt to clarify a response given by a witness. Where the interpreter is unable to translate a word or phrase in testimony, or does not understand the testimony, they must inform the Hearing Panel or Vice-Chair to obtain instructions.
Where a party or witness can testify in English or French but only needs unfamiliar words to be interpreted, the Panel will consult with the parties and the interpreter before directing a form of interpretation that is not verbatim.