Court interpreters, Ellis Island, CLI 8

This issue focuses on the work of interpreters in the legal system. While there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not court interpreting belong under the purview of community interpreting, this issue of The Link does not attempt to align with either side: rather CLI seeks to build strong alliances and provide support to all interpreters. Community interpreting has always been about access to services and the preservation of human rights.

The work of court interpreters is highly demanding. It necessitates a specific skill set. It is also extremely vital in the delivery of fair trials and due process. Sadly, few places in the world provide adequate levels of service, which means that human rights are being violated. Innocent people may be convicted, and mistrials have occurred, due to interpreter error or failure to provide a qualified interpreter. As we hear from contributors in Europe and North America, improvement of working conditions for interpreters and quality of service for clients needs to be a top priority for moving the profession forward. For example, why are court interpreters required to work on their own for an entire day of a trial, when AIIC standards for conference interpreting require teams of interpreters to share the work in rotations? [1]

In this issue of The Link we begin with a look at the historical roots of court interpreting at Ellis Island, the epicenter of immigrant arrivals and attendant language needs in America. Then we hear reports from Italy and from Ontario, Canada and provide you with links to news from the UK and other global destinations.

We hope that you enjoy this issue. Visit for past issues.

CLI Updates

It is an exciting time for Critical Link International. One of our main goals is to connect with and inform members around the world, and I am so pleased to announce that our Research and Resource Centre is up and running. Here you will find the latest research and the best resources to help you in your work and ongoing skill building. See more by clicking here.

Also remember to keep in touch with our Facebook Page and by following us on Twitter.

We are almost a year away from CL8, our next international conference. The conference will take place in Edinburgh in June 2016. Heriot-Watt University is a leading institution in Interpreting and Translating, and they are looking forward to welcoming attendees—researchers, trainers, practitioners and policy-makers—from around the world.

Finally, to take advantage of the benefits and resources we are providing please take the time to renew or sign up for Critical Link membership. We have extended our special membership offer to April 30th. Sign up as a member now and save until 2017.  


Angela Sasso

[1] Professional Practice Conditions for Conference Interpreters in Canada. AIIC

*The opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Critical Link International.

AuthorCritical Link International