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Translation and Interpretation Guidelines and Information
School divisions in Saskatchewan may be faced with the need to arrange for translation and
interpretation services when meeting with newcomer families who do not speak English or
French. Some school divisions rely on family members, community members, settlement
agencies and local cultural groups to provide these services. Standards of translation and
interpretation practices in schools will ensure parents, students, and/or school personnel will
receive accurate and adequate information contributing to a successful integration into the school
community. The following translation and interpretation guidelines and information will assist
school divisions in choosing translators or interpreters.
Effective Knowledge, Skills and Abilities of Effective Translators and Interpreters
Education/certification in translation or interpretation.
Several years of experience in the field of translation or interpretation, especially in the
subject matter requested.
Awareness of language capabilities and limitations.
Awareness of standards of practice.
An understanding of the ethical principles that define the practice of professional translating
and interpreting.
Can negotiate meaning in the new language based on a Saskatchewan context.
Has complete knowledge of English or French and the source language*.
*Source Language: The language “from which” a translation is done.
The task of the translator is to convert written material from one language to another maintaining
the content, context and style of the original material. The task of the interpreter is to interpret
oral communication from one language to another aloud. Some of the skills specific to each role
is as follows.
An effective translator:
writes appropriately in both English or French and source language;
listens, understands, and grasps various expressions, idioms, and specific vocabulary and
their uses;
is aware of styles of speaking and social hierarchy of English or French and source
is aware of different knowledge-providing sources like bilingual dictionaries, encyclopedias
and understands how to use them; and,
possesses superior understanding of sentence structure of indirect speech and different
figures of speech in the source language like hyperbole, irony, etc.
An effective interpreter:
has complete knowledge of both English and source language;
speaks proficiently in both English and source language;
interprets audibly and clearly with minimum hesitation;
listens attentively to retain large amounts of content (may take notes);
preserves the original message without embellishments, omissions, additions, distortion or
explanations of the meaning; and,
uses appropriate tone, volume, intonation, speech patterns when interpreting the message.
Ethical Principles to Consider
Below are examples of ethical principles that can be used to govern the practices of translators
and interpreters as they perform their job duties. School divisions are encouraged to create their
own standard of practice for each ethical principle.
Accuracy and Fidelity - Preserves the original message without embellishments, omissions,
additions, distortion. The interpreter and or translator shall not add to what is said or provide
unsolicited explanations of the meaning.
Example of Standard: All information said or written will be translated or interpreted. If
one party requests that only certain information be communicated, the translator or
interpreter will inform all parties of the request and restate their obligation to interpret or
translate everything.
Impartiality - Shall not show any preferences to either party; must remain unbiased.
Personal opinions should not interfere with the assignment.
Example of Standard: The translator or interpreter will decline the assignment if they have
any personal investment in the outcome.
Confidentiality-Shall not disclose any information that is spoken or written during the course
of their assignment. Information may only be disclosed if given permission from the client or
required by law.
Example of Standard: The translator or interpreter will inform all parties they will respect
the code of confidentiality, except when required by law.
Professional Conduct- At all times will act in a manner that is polite, respectful, ethical, and
Example of Standard: The translator or interpreter will arrive on time and dress in
appropriate attire for face to face meetings.
Continued Professional Development- Committed to continually improving their skills and
knowledge through participating in formal and informal professional training or education.
Example of Standard: The translator or interpreter can demonstrate their certifications,
training and relevant experience.
Language Line Services. (2003). Interpreter Code of Ethics. Retrieved April 5, 2011 from
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2008). Language Interpreting Framework: Language
Interpreter Services (LIS).
Regina Open Door Society. General Principles for Interpreters and Translators. Regina: Author.
Smith, J. (2011). What Skills Are Required to Be A Good Translator? Retrieved November 19,
2010 from
Ukrainian Canadian Congress Saskatchewan Provincial Council. Translation and Interpretation
Services Handbook. Regina: Author.