Looking Back: Interpretation & Translation Services

Health Fair 021Immigrants often need interpretation and translation services when they first arrive in Canada. In the early days of MISA, this need was met in several different ways. Clients would often bring a community member to help them, and sometimes staff were themselves able to interpret. Staff would also recruit former clients to help out with interpretation needs. They did not require any training or experience – just fluency in a language that was needed and a relationship of trust with MISA. These pioneer interpreters were paid $6 per hour.

In October 1999 interpretation and translation services became a standalone program of MISA. Shortly after, Merek Jagielski was hired as the first Interpretation and Translation Services Coordinator and has been in the role ever since. In the year 2000 we developed a formal training course for interpreters and the next year interpreters became formally associated with MISA as volunteers.

Health Fair 019The program evolved with the needs of clients, providing documentation support and assistance with affidavits and statutory declarations needed for settlement and integration.

In 2005, in response to specific client needs, refugee health interpretation support was developed and introduced.

A training manual was developed for our interpreters and the larger interpreting community, and in 2008 we published the Interpretation Resource Handbook – a resource that has been distributed widely, shared with interpreters across the province and beyond.

Leading the Way

ISANS has been an innovator in interpretation and translation services. As coordinator, Merek is a founding member of the Association of Community Interpreters in Nova Scotia, leads the Nova Scotia Coalition in Community Interpreting, and is a member of the National Coalition on Community Interpreting.

Today, we work with 50 formally associated service interpreters and 30 language translators and provide interpretation support, information, translations of written information and documentation support to ISANS clients.

For more information on our interpretation and translation services, please visit Translation and Interpretation section of our website.