TORONTO, Feb. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - Over a half a million residents of Ontario are not proficient enough in English or French to understand medication instructions from their doctor, access community legal services or report a crime to the police.
Untrained and unqualified interpreters often provide ad hoc interpretation in public service settings—including hospitals, parole hearings, and administrative tribunals—at the risk of public safety and individual freedom.
Unlike certified Court Interpreters, Conference Interpreters, Translators and Terminologists, interpreters working in public service settings, also known as Community Interpreters, are entirely unregulated. Any individual who speaks two languages can walk into a hospital and call themselves a Medical Interpreter—and potentially harm a patient.
The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) wishes to work with its sister associations across Canada to develop a program to certify Community Interpreters. "Therefore, we are announcing today that we have formally asked the Ontario Legislature to amend our governing legislation, the ATIO Act, so that we can better serve the people of Ontario by establishing standards for Community Interpreters," said Barbara Collishaw, President of ATIO. "ATIO has long experience in setting professional standards for translators and court and conference interpreters. We would like to provide the same standard of quality assurance for Community Interpreters," she continued. "We are also asking the Ministers whose services are directly impacted - Citizenship and Immigration, Health and Long-Term Care, Community and Social Services, Child and Youth Services, and Public Safety and Correctional Services - to support this amendment," concluded Ms. Collishaw.
ATIO is the first translators' association in the world whose certified members are deemed professionals by law, for in February 1989 the Province of Ontario granted a reserved title for certified members of ATIO through the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario Act, 1989.
ATIO is the only certification body for the province of Ontario for translators, court interpreters, conference interpreters and terminologists.
For further information:
Barbara Collishaw, President, ATIO, 1 613 296-9473 (English)
Catherine Bertholet, Executive Director, ATIO, 1 613 241-2846 (French)