Tran Case

The Tran case (1994) was the first in which the Supreme Court dealt with the right to an interpreter. Tran was accused of sexual assault. At trial, he was assigned an interpreter because he spoke neither French nor English.

Tran Case

The Tran case (1994) was the first in which the Supreme Court dealt with the right to an interpreter. Tran was accused of sexual assault. At trial, he was assigned an interpreter because he spoke neither French nor English. Tran argued that the interpreter had not fully translated his evidence but had merely summarized it. In addition, the cross-examination of the interpreter, who had also appeared as a witness, had not been translated for Tran. Tran was found guilty. He argued that his right to the assistance of an interpreter had not been fully recognized. It was clear from the evidence that Tran had need of an interpreter. However, the translation with which he was provided was neither continuous nor accurate. Although the impartiality of the translator was not disputed, Chief Justice Lamer contended that it was preferable that the interpreter not serve also as a witness except in very exceptional cases. Finally, the interpretation was not contemporaneous. In the circumstances, the court ordered a new trial.