Categories
authors & audience grammar & speech language & style

Language support serves meaning first

We used an immigration lawyer to start the paperwork six months before we arrived. Worried whether Canada would let us land the lawyer calmed us by saying something like “… you can speak the language.” It was a moment of introspection.

Seeing how many people face communication barriers, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada publishes an Interpreter Handbook. The code of conduct advises practitioners to take all reasonable care to accurately interpret or translate what is stated in the source language, having regard to meaning first and then to style.

Persons performing oral or written translation must express exactly what has been said. No paraphrasing, no embellishment, no omission, no explanation, no opinion.

If a speaker says he was “struck” an appropriate equivalent term would be “hit”– but not “assaulted”. If a speaker says “I will appeal…”, the interpreter repeats “I will appeal …”, not “my client will appeal..” and not “she will appeal …”. Getting the meaning right takes care, skill and diligence.

Categories
language & style terms & abbreviations

English as a second language

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is legislation respecting immigration to Canada and granting refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger.

The term “foreign national” refers to any person other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Oddly, the word “immigrant” doesn’t appear in the Act.

I was happy to read that the 2001 Act used simpler language and fewer cross-references. However, I had to chew on a 112-word clause before it made any sense.

Sole provincial responsibility — appeals
If a federal-provincial agreement gives a province sole responsibility to establish and apply financial criteria with respect to undertakings that sponsors living in that province may make in respect of a foreign national who applies to become a permanent resident, then, unless the agreement provides otherwise, the existence of a right of appeal under the law of that province respecting rejections by provincial officials of applications for sponsorship, for reasons of failing to meet financial criteria or failing to comply with a prior undertaking, prevents the sponsor, except on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, from appealing under this Act against a refusal, based on those reasons, of a visa or permanent resident status.

My take on sole provincial responsibility appeals is this:

The province can impose financial responsibility on the sponsor of a foreign national, and if refused for financial reasons the sponsor can appeal to the province or apply under the Act for a humanitarian and compassionate exception.

My hat goes off to ESL classmates who had to deal with breaking down and making sense of this provision.