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Translation Bureau Regulations (C.R.C., c. 1561)

Regulations are current to 2024-05-28

Translation Bureau Regulations

C.R.C., c. 1561


Regulations Respecting the Provision of Translation Services

Short Title

 These Regulations may be cited as the Translation Bureau Regulations.


 In these Regulations,


department means a department of the Public Service and includes both Houses of the Parliament of Canada and all bureaus, branches, commissions and agencies created or appointed by Act of Parliament or by order of the Governor in Council; (ministère or département)

designated official

designated official means an employee of a department designated in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 7(1)(b); (fonctionnaire désigné)

Interdepartmental Committee

Interdepartmental Committee means the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Government Translations established by section 14; (comité interministériel)


interpretation means oral translation; (interprétation)


proofreading means the examination and correction of typographical details or of illustrations on sheets printed from type or plates and includes the verification of numbers contained in tables and documents; (correction d’épreuves)


revision means the examination and correction of the meaning and form of a translation and includes the insertion into a translation of changes made in the original text after it has been submitted for translation to the Bureau; (révision)


translation means the written transposition of words and numbers from one language to another and includes an adaptation that accurately conveys the meaning thereof. (traduction)

Responsibilities of the Bureau

 The Bureau shall

  • (a) subject to these Regulations, make all translations requested by departments;

  • (b) cooperate with departments in revising documents prepared by departments;

  • (c) deliver translations or revisions in legible form to the department requesting the translations or revisions;

  • (d) ensure that translations or revisions made by it conform, in so far as Canadian usage permits, to “le français universel” or Standard English, whichever is applicable;

  • (e) subject to these Regulations, provide interpretation services requested by departments; and

  • (f) give technical advice on questions relating to translation, terminology and style to employees of departments.

  •  (1) Except in cases of particular urgency, the Bureau shall make translations in the English or French language in accordance with the following order of priority:

    • (a) documents that are required to be published in both the English and French languages including

      • (i) all Parliamentary documents,

      • (ii) all official departmental documents and publications, and

      • (iii) speeches and press releases;

    • (b) handbooks and administrative directions intended for the use of departmental employees;

    • (c) documents, including correspondence, that are required to be translated solely for the assistance of an individual who has not a working knowledge of both the English and French languages; and

    • (d) staff magazines.

  • (2) The Bureau, upon receiving a request for translation from a department, shall forthwith estimate the amount of time required to make the translation and determine whether or not its normal facilities for serving the department will permit the making of the translation within the maximum time available for that purpose.

  • (3) Where the Bureau is of the opinion that its normal facilities for serving a department will not permit the making of a translation within the maximum time available for that purpose, the Bureau shall communicate with the designated official of the department in order

    • (a) to obtain an extension of the time available for making the translation;

    • (b) to obtain a change in the department’s translation priorities; or

    • (c) to make any other arrangement with the department for making the translation.

  •  (1) The Bureau shall make a translation of a document from or into a language other than English or French if

    • (a) the International Translations Index contained in the National Science Library of the National Research Council has been consulted by the department requesting the translation; and

    • (b) where a translation of the document is available elsewhere, a reasonable effort has been made by the department to obtain it.

  • (2) Where a department does not have the facilities to do so, the Bureau shall prepare the final presentation of a translation of a document from or into a language other than English or French, including the typing, page-setting, printing and proofreading of such a translation.

 When, in the opinion of the Superintendent of the Bureau, the Bureau is unable to deal adequately with requests for translations or interpretations made by departments, the Bureau may, in accordance with the provisions of the Government Contracts Regulations and in compliance with any security requirements, engage the services of professional translators or interpreters as independent contractors.

Responsibilities of Departments

  •  (1) The head of every department that uses the services of the Bureau shall

    • (a) eliminate the need for translation requests to the Bureau based solely on the inability of an employee to read or prepare texts in the English or French language;

    • (b) designate an employee in his department who shall communicate with and receive communications from the Bureau in respect of translations and revisions requested from the Bureau by the department;

    • (c) provide the Bureau annually with a five-year forecast of its translation requirements, including, in the case of translation requirements in respect of languages other than English or French, a listing of the languages from or into which translations are required;

    • (d) include in his production schedules for publications, the time required for translation, such time to be determined in consultation with the Bureau; and

    • (e) supply to the Bureau’s Terminology Centre two copies in each language of any document that is published by the department in both the English and French languages, upon the publication thereof.

  • (2) A department shall, in the manner determined by its designated official and the Bureau, send all documents for translation or revision to the Chief of the Translation Division attached to the department or, if no Translation Division has been attached to the department, to the Director of Production of the Bureau, together with two copies of a request for translation in a form approved by the Superintendent of the Bureau.

  • (3) Where a department makes a request for translation, it shall, at the time of making the request, advise the Bureau of

    • (a) the maximum time available for translation; and

    • (b) any security measures that may be necessary in respect of the document, in respect of which the translation is requested.

  • (4) A department shall attach to all documents, in respect of which translation is requested, any documentation that may be of assistance to the Bureau including

    • (a) the original and translated versions of similar previous texts;

    • (b) any document where the text prepared in consequence thereof is submitted for translation into the language used in that document;

    • (c) previously prepared scientific or technical vocabularies; and

    • (d) the source of quotations, information or texts used as reference.

 Where a department intends to request translation of a scientific, technical or specialized document that is being prepared in the department, it shall, upon the completion of the first draft thereof, forward a copy of the draft to the Bureau in order that terminological research may be commenced by the Bureau.

 Subject to subsection 5(2), a department shall be responsible for the final presentation of translations delivered to it by the Bureau, including the typing, printing, page-setting and proofreading of such translations.

 A department shall take full responsibility for any changes it makes in translations provided by the Bureau.

 Where the Bureau has attached a Translation Division to a department, the department shall

  • (a) provide suitable office space for the Translation Division;

  • (b) acquire for the library of the Translation Division such reference material as the Chief of the Translation Division considers necessary for the performance of his duties and, at the request of the Chief of the Translation Division, place such reference material in the office space occupied by the Translation Division; and

  • (c) make available to the Translation Division the stenographic and typing services required by it to meet emergencies.

Interpretation Services

  •  (1) The requirements of both Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the committees thereof in respect of interpretation services shall be given first priority by the Bureau.

  • (2) Subject to subsection (1), the Bureau shall provide interpretation services to departments.

  •  (1) When a department commences preparation for any conference in respect of which it intends to request the Bureau to provide interpretation services, it shall notify the Bureau in writing and provide the Bureau with any information and documentation that may be useful to the Bureau including agenda, working papers, reports, speeches and specialized vocabularies.

  • (2) Where, in the opinion of the Superintendent of the Bureau, a department has not provided sufficient information and documentation to allow reasonable preparation to be made by the Bureau for provision of interpretation services, the Superintendent may limit the services of the Bureau to interpretation that can be made without special preparation.

  • (3) A department that has requested interpretation services for a conference shall

    • (a) where possible, organize a meeting for the day preceding the conference between the employees of the Bureau who are to provide the interpretation services and specialists attending the conference for the purpose of familiarizing the employees of the Bureau with the material to be discussed at the conference;

    • (b) provide and install at the conference the equipment deemed necessary by the Bureau to enable the Bureau to provide the interpretation services requested; and

    • (c) make all travel and accommodation arrangements and pay all travel expenses in respect of employees of the Bureau who are to provide interpretation services at conferences held outside of Ottawa.

Interdepartmental Committee

  •  (1) An Interdepartmental Advisory Committee on Government Translations, consisting of eight members, shall consider questions of priority resulting from requests made for translations and the provision of interpretation services.

  • (2) The Interdepartmental Committee shall consist of

    • (a) two members appointed by the Under Secretary of State, one of whom shall act as Secretary of the Interdepartmental Committee and shall have no vote;

    • (b) one member appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury Board;

    • (c) the Superintendent of the Bureau or his representative;

    • (d) the Queen’s Printer or his representative;

    • (e) one member appointed from the Special Secretariat on Bilingualism of the Privy Council; and

    • (f) two designated officials representing departments not otherwise represented, selected according to an annual rotation system.

  • (3) The Interdepartmental Committee shall meet once at the beginning of each calendar year to choose its chairman and thereafter at the call of the chairman.

  •  (1) Where a conflict in priorities arises because of requests made by more than one department for translations or the provision of interpretation services, the Bureau shall refer the conflict to the Interdepartmental Committee for a decision.

  • (2) The decision of the Interdepartmental Committee shall be binding upon all departments.

Terminology Centre

  •  (1) The Bureau shall maintain a Terminology Centre that shall

    • (a) carry out terminological research and prepare and distribute terminological instructions and bulletins;

    • (b) make its services available to departments; and

    • (c) cooperate with universities and other institutions and agencies involved in terminological research.

  • (2) Departments shall cooperate with the Terminology Centre and supply it with copies of documents containing specialized glossaries and vocabularies that come into their possession.

  • (3) Departments shall seek the assistance of and cooperate with the Terminology Centre in the selection of a title for any new body under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada in respect of which a title in both the English and French languages is required.

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