National Standards for Interpretation Services


The Canadian Language Industry Association (formerly AILIA) Certification based on the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) provides for the highest level of professionalism and reliability on the part of interpretation service providers, thus inspiring confidence among clients that Canadian Language Industry Association accreditation represents an assurance of quality.

Published by the Healthcare Interpretation Network (HIN) in 2007, The National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS) was created with the support of Critical Link International (CLI), the Canadian Language Industry Association and the Association of Canadian Corporations in Translation and Interpretation (ACCTI).

The creation of the standard was guided by joint efforts from many stakeholders, including a committee composed by 24 members representing organizations across Canada from government, academia, professional orders, non-profit and private sector.

Since its publication, the HIN Standards have gained international attention in the U.S., Europe and Asia. A number of professional associations and consortia, including the International Organization for Standardization, are using this document as the foundation for the development of their own standards of practice in Community Interpreting.

In early 2010, the Canadian Language Industry Association created a new certification program developed for Interpretation Service Providers (ISPs) under the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services (NSGCIS)

The National Standard Guide specifies the requirements for the provision of quality community interpreting services to ensure reliability in the provision of such services nationwide.

Community interpreting (also known as institutional interpreting) is usually done in the consecutive mode in a dialogue-like interaction. It enables communication between Limited English/French Proficiency speakers (LEP/LFP) and providers of public services such as:

  • Healthcare/Hospitals
  • Government agencies
  • Community centres
  • Courts and other legal settings
  • Educational institutions
  • Social services

Interpreters working in this type of setting usually interpret from source to target language and vice-versa.

The Standard Guide applies to Community Interpreting only.

Adopting this Standard Guide at the national level is crucial to achieving professionalization in the field.

Goals of the Standard Guide:

  • Promote the highest quality of interpreting when adopted for assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring and possible future professional recognition.
  • Provide clear and consistent definitions of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified community interpreter.
  • Educational tool / Common base of understanding among interpreting parties.

What does the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services – NSGCIS – include?


Definitions of interpreting terminology

Human resources requirements:
  • Interpreter's Skills and Competencies
  • Interpreting Competence
  • Linguistic Competence
  • Research and Technical Competence
  • Interpersonal skills
Responsibilities of Interpreting Parties:
  • Client
  • Interpreting Service Providers-ISP
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Interpreters       


  • LITP Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles
  • Language Classification Working Languages
  • Professional Associations
  • Healthcare Interpreting

The NSGCIS ensures:

  • Uniformity in assessment, training, hiring, performance monitoring, and possible professional recognition.
  • Consistent definition of the characteristics and competencies of a qualified interpreter.
  • Improved access to reference and background material.

NSGCIS establishes ethical principles for interpreters:

  • Accuracy and fidelity
  • Confidentiality
  • Impartiality
  • Respect for persons
  • Maintenance of role boundaries
  • Accountability
  • Professionalism
  • Continued competence

The interpretation service provider is responsible for hiring qualified interpreters, ensuring they understand the context, and have access to documentation and other resources to enable them to perform their function.

The client is responsible for providing as much background information as possible on the subject matter. During discussions, they must speak clearly, without jargon or slang, and address the party, never the interpreter, who is to remain unobtrusive.

With the adoption of national standards comes the opportunity to define expectations and assess performance. Clients can be confident that any accredited interpretation service provider will employ professionals who have the qualifications to meet or exceed expectations and will adhere to, and be bound by, the requirements specified in the National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services.

Maintenance assessments are performed by Orion Assessment Services every two years. This assessment follows the same procedure as the first, with all of the same questions and the same checklist. Applicants must be Corporate members in good standing for the continuous two year period prior to the maintenance assessment.


National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services

To obtain certification, please visit the page GET CERTIFIED.

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