Bilingual Interpretation Rules As A Component Of Language Rights In Canada

Michel Bastarache

in The Oxford Handbook of Language and Law

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199572120
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Bilingual Interpretation Rules As A Component Of Language Rights In Canada

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  • Linguistics
  • Forensic Linguistics
  • Translation and Interpretation


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In Canada, a few groups enjoy explicit constitutional recognition, including certain official language minorities and aboriginals. In light of the constitutional history of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed in the Reference re Secession of Quebec that the protection of minorities forms part of the constitutional order in Canada. This article explores bilingual interpretation rules as a component of language rights in Canada. It first outlines the linguistic rights of minorities in Canada and then discusses the historical development of multilingual legislation in the country. The article also considers multilingual statutory interpretation, focusing on the rules of equal authenticity and shared meaning, selective application by jurists, the conflict between language versions, and erroneous applications of the equal authenticity and shared meaning rules. It concludes with a discussion of future challenges in Canadian bilingual jurisprudence as well as the publication of bilingual judgments.

Keywords: Canada; language rights; minorities; Supreme Court; multilingual legislation; statutory interpretation; equal authenticity; shared meaning; bilingual jurisprudence; bilingual judgments

Article.  7637 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Forensic Linguistics ; Translation and Interpretation

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