How Do I Arrange for an Interpreter?
A plaintiff, defendant, accused or witness may need an interpreter to understand questions asked in court and to ensure their responses are clearly understood by the court. Court interpreters are available to translate court proceedings in oral and sign language.
Sign language interpreters are retained by Court Services Branch in all types of court proceedings.
Court Services retains oral interpreters for the following situations:
- Provincial and Supreme Court criminal adult and youth cases;
- family cases in Provincial Court;
- traffic court cases;
- municipal bylaw cases; and
- upon court order, in any court.
Crown counsel, where one is appointed, will arrange for Court Services to provide an interpreter in the above cases.
Where there is no Crown counsel (for example, in family cases), you should make sure the court knows an interpreter is needed well in advance of the court date. Contact the interpreter clerk at the court registry where your case is being held and explain the situation.
Except in the cases listed above, you must provide your own interpreter. Your lawyer will usually arrange this. However, if you do not have a lawyer, contact the interpreter clerk at the court registry where your case is being held. You must pay all interpreter's fees yourself, unless the court rules in your favour and directs that your court costs be paid by the other side in your case. However, even if the court does order this, you will still need to pay all interpreter fees in advance. You would be reimbursed for this expense later.