New CanLII Translation Initiative

As announced moments ago, CanLII is launching a collaboration with BG Communications, a Montreal -based translation agency, in order to ensure that certain important case reports delivered in one of the official languages only are made available in the other language. As CanLII President, Colin Lachance notes:

With over 2000 new decisions posted each week, it is not possible to translate everything. . . . However, the legal community has highlighted a number of decisions that warrant wider availability in the other official language.

The press release goes on to say:

Judgments selected for translation will be identified in consultation with the legal community. Relevant factors include national interest, substantive change in the law and practical application having regard to frequency of referral. The first judgment translated under this collaboration falls in the third category.

The judgment referred to is Boucher v. Public Accountants Council for the Province of Ontario 2004 CanLII 14579 (ON CA); 71 OR (3d) 291; 188 OAC 201, a case on fair and reasonable costs.

This is a very welcome development and goes some way toward bridging what Slawyer Kim Nayyer called Jurisprudential Solitudes in a recent post. Earlier on Slaw Ted Tjaden set out a number of helpful sources in respect of Finding English Translations of French Language Court Decisions in Canada.

As professional as these CanLII-BG translations will be, they will not, of course, have the status of an official translation, though it remains to be seen how courts will treat them for the purposes of argument in the target language.

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