Woman’s refugee hearing ruined by poor translator

Woman’s translator gave false and incoherent answers at refugee hearing

A woman fleeing persecution in Kenya was heading towards being deported from Canada after her refugee hearing was disrupted by a bad translator according to this National Post article.

The woman has since been given a new hearing by Federal Court with the help of an immigration lawyer.

Translator butchered elementary phrases at refugee hearing

The woman’s son did work for a political activist group in Kenya, leading to political persecution for her and her family. According to the article, when the woman told the Immigration and Refugee Board that her son put up posters opposing the government, and the translator said “sometimes he come home with postage”.

Throughout the refugee hearing, the woman was told she was being uncooperative and evasive, but when concern was raised about the poor translation by her daughter she was told to be quiet. In addition, when the woman’s lawyer raised concern about the translation no one else present spoke the woman’s native language, Swahili, and could not verify whether mistakes were being made.

Problems with refugee hearing translators are not new, and according to the National Post article one case in the 1990s sat for years because a translator for a particular language could not be found. Once the case proceeded, the refugee claimant could speak English he had been in Canada so long.

Contact an immigration lawyer for your refugee hearing

If this woman had not had the help of an immigration lawyer she would likely not be getting a second hearing, nor know the impact such a poor translator at her refugee hearing would have had on her case.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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