March 13, 2019

Interpreter Training

AALS Core Training for New Interpreters

Our core training for new interpreters consists of 70 hours of in-depth practical and theoretical training in community interpreting, with an emphasis on experiential learning. Our curriculum, originally developed by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and supported by the Healthcare Interpretation Network, has been developed and expanded to meet the needs of participants and employers.

To be successful in the program, participants should plan to spend an additional ten hours each week outside of classroom hours completing exercises and assignments at home.

Training Dates:  There are currently no training sessions planned for 2015/2016.  Please see Other Training Programs below on this page for current training opportunities.

Classroom time is devoted to:

  • language lab exercises, in which students practice interpreting using audiotapes
  • roleplays with a language partner (a participant who speaks the same language)
  • practice with sight translation
  • lectures by program facilitators
  • presentations by guest speakers working in the field.

Classroom exercises are designed to give participants daily practice in the constituent tasks of interpreting, including:

  • active listening
  • memory retention
  • note-taking
  • mental transposition
  • verbalization in the target language

Frequent tests and quizzes provide participants with constant feedback as their interpretation and sight translation skills develop. Facilitators are available for individual coaching.

Once you have successfully completed the AALS core training and passed the final examinations, you will receive a certificate in Core Training for Spoken Language Interpreting. You will be added to the AALS roster of certified interpreters and you will be contacted on an as-needed basis for interpreting assignments in the Greater Toronto Area. You will also be qualified to work for other interpreting agencies.

Language Testing

CILISAT (Cultural Interpreter Language Interpreting Assessment Tool)

ILSAT (Interpreter Language and Skills Assessment Tool)

These tests were developed by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and are accepted by most interpreter services as well as many health care organizations as a minimum required standard for interpretation and language proficiency.  Passing this language test is a requirement for Access Alliance interpreters. If there is no test available in a particular language, we carry out an interpretation simulation to assess a candidate’s basic interpretation skills and language ability.

Access Alliance can administer these tests for a fee of $200.  Please contact our office to make an appointment.

Humber College also administers the ILSAT test. Click here for more information.

Medical Terminology Courses

Following completion of the core interpreter training, AALS interpreters are required to complete a college level course in medical terminology. The following Toronto area colleges offer these courses. Note that the costs listed are subject to change.


For more information call 613-237-0502 (8:30am -5pm, M-F), 613-261-7834 (5pm-8:30am, M-F, weekends, holidays)

George Brown College

This is an on-line course. For more information, call 416-415-5000 ext. 4706.

Humber College

For more information call 416-675-5000.

Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences

This is a correspondence course. For more information, call 416-596-3177.

Skills for Change

Course Title: ESL/Medical Terminology

For more information call 416-658-7090

Seneca College

Register on-line or by calling 416-493-4144 or call 416-491-5050 ext. 2528 for more information.

Other Training Programs

Seneca College Language Interpreter Training Program

This 180-hour program consists of six 30-hour subjects. The program trains participants to interpret in health care, social services, and legal settings. Interested candidates may be required to attend an orientation session. Visit their website for more information or call 416-493-4144.

Humber College Language Interpreter Training Certificate

This 180-hour program consists of six 30-hour subjects. This is a certificate program intended to provide bilingual learners who wish to work as spoken language interpreters in the legal, in health-care and social services area, with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver effective interpreter services. Visit their website for more information or call 416-675-5006.

Mohawk College Language Interpreter Training

This 180-hour program consists of six 30-hour subjects. The training is an introduction to interpreting theory, with skills development practice in consecutive interpreting, sigh translation and note taking, simultaneous interpreting, standards of practice, and more.  Visit their website for more information. Some courses in this program are also offered through Distance Education.

York University Programs in Translation

Glendon College offers a post-degree certificate program in Spanish/English-English/Spanish translation as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programs in translation studies. Visit their website to learn more.

Professional Development

Professional Development Workshops For service providers:

  • Best Practices on how to work effectively with interpreters

It takes practice to work effectively with trained interpreters. Our experienced staff will lead an interactive workshop that will help you undo “bad habits” and learn to work proficiently with trained interpreters. We can accommodate small and large groups.