400 Court Interpreting

Court Interpreters work in an adversarial environment but, as officers of the court, they must be completely neutral—not taking either side no matter what. Working in or for the Court gives rise to a whole universe of ethical and legal constraints. Along with the requirement for capable interpreters set forth in Section 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there is a serious responsibility set upon the shoulders of those interpreters. It is not a profession to be undertaken lightly.

Our Court Interpreting Program is , in effect, an extension of our Paralegal Interpreting Program. That is to say, it includes all of the paralegal courses.

In our court interpreting you will expand your knowledge of criminal law, civil law and trial procedures. You will absorb a great deal of terminology and study the ethical and legal aspects of being a court interpreter. Everything you learned in the earlier programs (i.e. Community Interpreting, Health Care Interpreting, and Para-Legal Interpreting) serves as the foundation for what you will learn now.

On the practical side you will spend time in court observation, extensive workshop instruction in both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting and many hours of practice in both modes. Finally you will participate in a mock trial to see yourself "at work".

A court interpreter works mostly in the simultaneous mode — interpreting everything that is said in English during the court session for the accused (or a party in a civil trial) — the questions and the legal arguments of lawyers, the responses made by all witnesses and anything said by the judge and the court clerk.

Consecutive interpreting is done for the witness who is testifying at the witness stand. There is no direct communication between the witness and the interpreter other than what is being interpreted for the record. No explanations, comments or suggestions — the interpreter's role is to provide a voice to the witness and no more.

Completion, Exam, Certificate

  • A Statement of Completion will be issued for each course.
  • A final exam will be offered upon completion of all courses. This is a modern exam created by VANSIT solely for this program. There is a fee for this exam.
  • A Certificate in Court Interpreting will be granted to students who have passed all of the courses the final exam (with a score of at least 70% on all components).
  • In order to call yourself a Certified Court Interpreter in B.C. you must pass the certification requirements and exam set out by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of B.C.