Professional standards in Canada

Article 1

  1. Members of the Association shall declare a single professional address. It shall be published in the Association's list of members and shall be used, inter alia, as a basis for setting up Regions.
  2. Members in the permanent employment of an organisation's language department must declare in the list of members that they are employed by that organisation. Their professional address shall be at the place of their registered employment.
  3. Given the Association's regional structure and in order to ensure that members are able to exercise their voting rights at statutory regional meetings and that the rules pertaining to dues are respected, any change in professional address from one Region to another shall not be permitted for a period of less than six months. Any such change must be notified to the Secretariat at least three months before the intended date in order to ensure that it can be published in the Association's list of members in good time. The Secretariat shall inform the members of Council and the Regional Secretaries of the two regions concerned.

Article 2

  1. In order to avoid any difficulty between the parties, members of the Association shall not accept any contract for recruitment unless they know the precise conditions thereof and are certain that their identity and remuneration are known to the organiser of the conference.
  2. The Association shall provide standard forms of contract for those of its members wishing to use them.
  3. Any contract for the employment of a member of the Association must stipulate that the interpretation is intended solely for the immediate audition in the conference room. No recording, not even by those listening, may be made without the prior consent of the interpreters involved, in accordance with the provisions of international copyright agreements.         

Article 3

1. Cancellation by the interpreter

Members of the Association shall not withdraw from a contract unless they are able:

  1. to give sound reasons, and
  2. to suggest a replacement to the recruiting interpreter or, if there is no recruiting interpreter, directly to the conference organiser, unless the latter prefer to recruit the replacement her/himself;
  3. at all events, to secure the conference organiser’s approval of the change as quickly as possible.

2. Cancellation by the organiser

Contracts should include a clause covering the possible cancellation of an assignment by the organiser, as appropriate.

Article 4

Except for those cases where the Association has signed an Agreement, members are free to set their level of remuneration.

Article 5

Whenever members of the Association provide their services free-of-charge for conferences of a charitable or humanitarian nature, they shall respect the conditions laid down in the Code of Professional Ethics and in these Professional Standards.

Article 6

Given the physical and mental fatigue that are caused by sustained concentration, certain constraints will necessarily apply to the composition of teams in order to guarantee that the work done will be of an optimum quality.

The minimum number of interpreters required to make up a team is a function of these constraints as well as the mode of interpretation, the number of languages used, the language classifications of the interpreters making up the team, the nature of the conference, its duration and the workload.

The number of interpreters indicated below shall be increased if:

  • the language combinations are such that the minimum number of interpreters shown on the table is insufficient to cover them;
  • the working hours are long;
  • the conference involves the presentation of a large number of written statements or is of a technical or scientific nature requiring extensive preparation.

1. Consecutive Interpretation


Number of Languages Used

Minimum Number of Interpreters

From 2 languages into these 2 languages


From 3 languages into these 3 languages



In exceptional cases and on condition that quality and health-related principles are safeguarded, a single interpreter may be hired instead of two, or two interpreters instead of three, for meetings of short duration.

2. Whispered Interpretation

For a conference involving the interpretation of one or two languages into one other language and where there are no more than two listeners, whether or not consecutive interpretation is provided in the other direction, at least two interpreters shall be required. In general, the staffing is the same as for simultaneous interpretation (see 3. Staffing Table).

3. Simultaneous Interpretation

As a general rule, a team is composed of at least two interpreters per language and per booth. This is to ensure adequate coverage of all language combinations and to guarantee the necessary quality. In the case of conferences with two working languages, the team is composed of three interpreters.

Teams of interpreters must be put together in such a way as to avoid the systematic use of relay. However, when there is no alternative to the use of relay for a given language, the team shall comprise at least two interpreters able to provide a relay from that language. In addition, if the relay is provided from a two-way booth, at least three interpreters shall work in that booth.

An interpreter shall not, as a general rule, work alone in a simultaneous interpretation booth, without the availability of a colleague to relieve her or him should the need arise, except, on an exceptional basis, for meetings lasting under 40 minutes.

The number of interpretation booths is the same as the number of target languages, except for the case of two-language conferences where a single booth may suffice.


Number of languages used in the conference room

Number of booths

Number of interpreters

From 2 languages into these  2 languages

maximum  40 minutes
maximum  3  ½ to 4 hours
maximum  6 hours
maximum  8 hours





From 3 languages into these 3 languages



From 4 languages into these 4 languages



From 5 languages into these 5 languages


from 10 to 15

4. Videoconferences

The Association has adopted special rules covering interpreters' work for videoconferences.

Article 7

Given the constraints related to quality and health, the normal duration of an interpreter's working day shall not exceed two sessions of between two-and-a-half and three hours each.

Article 8

Contracts should include a clause covering non-working days as well as travel days, days permitted for adaptation following a long journey and briefing days, as appropriate

Article 9

Contracts should include a clause covering travel arrangements, as appropriate.

Article 10

Travel conditions should be such that they do not impair either the interpreter's health or the quality of her/his work following a journey.

After a long journey, or after a journey involving a major shift in time zones, scheduling of rest days should be considered.

Article 11

Contracts should include a clause covering accommodation and subsistence arrangements, as appropriate.

Article 12

Members shall be unconditionally bound by the conditions applicable to freelance members working for organisations that have signed an agreement with the Association and which are contained in said agreements that are the result of negotiations dealing, in particular, with working conditions, remuneration, team strength and social security.

Article 13

A number of particular conditions may apply to the work done by members for certain intergovernmental conferences that are not covered by an agreement signed with the Association.

Translated from original French version adopted in Ottawa, June 1st, 2001

Recommended citation format:
AIIC. "Professional standards in Canada". December 7, 2004. Accessed July 13, 2020. <>.