Increased court demand for ‘minority language’ interpreters

Posted on: May 11th, 2019 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

As the influx of people who speak “minority languages” increases, so will the demand on Canadian immigration courts to provide interpreters, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

“It’s very easy to think, ‘for this case, we need an interpreter who speaks Spanish, or French, or Mandarin,’” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“However, what if the person before them only speaks a minority language, and is not comfortable conversing in the country’s official language?” she asks.

Some popular minority languages are Urdu from Pakistan and K’iche’ from Central America, Deslicar tells

She says, “Are we complying with the principles of justice and giving people a fair chance in court if they are not given the chance to speak in their native tongue?”

The United States is struggling with this dilemma, according to a recent article in the ABA Journal. To lower costs for hearings, it states that the U.S. Justice Department has ordered immigration court judges to use more translators based in call centres to address the increased number of new arrivals who speak minority languages.

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