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What is interpreting?

Interpreting is an activity that consists of establishing oral or manual communication between two or more speakers who are not speaking (or signing) the same language.


Man with glasses in interpreting booth.

The role of the interpreter

The interpreter helps establish direct communication between the professional (e.g., social worker, healthcare professional, lawyer) and the person with limited English proficiency (LEP). For the communication to be truly direct, the interpreter serves strictly as a conduit, always interpreting in the first person. Interpreters strive to render all messages in their entirety accurately, as faithfully as possible and to the best of their ability without addition, distortion, omission or embellishment of the meaning.

Community interpreting

Bidirectional interpreting that takes place in the course of communication among speakers of different languages. The context is the provision of public services such as healthcare or community services and in settings such as government agencies, community centres, legal settings, educational institutions, and social services. Other terms have been used to describe community interpreting, such as “public service interpreting”, “cultural interpreting”, “dialogue interpreting”, “institutional interpreting, “liaison interpreting,” and “ad hoc interpreting”. However, community interpreting remains the most widely accepted term in Canada.


Consecutive interpreting

Consecutive is one of the two modes of interpreting. There are two forms of consecutive interpreting:

  1. Long or classic consecutive is usually used in conference interpreting settings, where the interpreter listens to the totality of the speaker’s comments or a significant passage and then reconstitutes the speech with the help of notes taken while listening.
  2. Sequential or short consecutive interpreting is used in court interpreting as well as most forms of community interpreting and operates at the sentence level instead of working with paragraphs or entire speeches.

In this form of interpreting, the interpreter may interrupt the speaker and ask him/her to repeat, clarify or rephrase so as to ensure accuracy and completeness in the delivery of the message.

Conference call interpreting

A form of remote interpreting that takes place over the phone between three or more people. This is also called telephone interpreting.

Conference interpreting

A form of interpreting that takes place in a conference-type setting, often interpreting speeches or presentations. It may be either consecutive or simultaneous in mode but involves the interpreter working in “one direction” of language transfer only, usually from one language into their first or preferred language.

Court interpreting

Interpreting that takes place in a court setting, in which the interpreter is asked to interpret either consecutively or simultaneously for a LEP/LFP individual who takes part in a legal proceeding.

Healthcare interpreting

Interpreting that takes place in a healthcare setting, in which the interpreter is asked to interpret either consecutively or simultaneously for an individual who does not share the language in which the healthcare service takes place.

Simultaneous interpreting

The nearly instantaneous delivery of the speaker’s message from the source language into the target language.

Sign language interpreting

Visual-spatial languages used by Deaf people. Signed languages are natural languages with their own grammatical structures and lexicon. In Canada, there are two official signed languages: American Sign Language (ASL), used by English-speaking Deaf community members, and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) used by French-speaking Deaf community members.

Pre-arrange interpreting services

Face-to-Face, Over-the-Phone (OPI), and Video Remote (VRI)

Ideally, all orders are placed via:

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For all other inquiries:


1-416-975-5297 or 1-888-975-4468

“Quick connect” telephone interpretation 

Connect to an interpreter in < 30 seconds – Ideal for Quick Communications & Emergencies. 24/7, 365 day service.


1-866-895-7406 or 416-975-5394

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Interpreting Hours

8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. EST.
After Hours: Utilize the Quick Connect service.