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Law Centre: Innovation, Experimentation, Research

Ryerson Law Research Centre to Develop Tamil-English Legal Glossary


Marco Fiola, Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Ryerson faculty member Dr. Marco Fiola, Chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Ryerson Law Research Centre are delighted to announce the development of an online Tamil-English legal glossary, funded with a grant from The Law Foundation of Ontario.

“The need for interpretation services was compellingly described by the Law Foundation with the release of its 2008 report by the Linguistic and Rural Access to Justice Project. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to fill a great need and very grateful to LFO for funding this project,” said Cara-Marie O‘Hagan, Executive Director of the Law Research Centre.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ontario Tamil community is one of the most under-served in legal interpretation, although the Tamil community is large and growing rapidly. Recognizing this gap in services, the Ministry is supporting the development of the glossary.

Dr. Fiola, who will be the principal investigator, has been teaching applied linguistics at Ryerson University since 2006. He holds a doctorate in Translation Studies and is a certified translator and terminologist (ATIO).

“This online resource will be a first step in ensuring that the Tamil community at large, as well as organizations and interpreters who work with that community, use standardized, commonly-accepted terminology, which in turn will improve intercultural communication and the delivery of legal services, for the benefit of all Ontarians,” said Dr. Fiola.

The bilingual glossary will include a standardized collection of legal terms, and will assist court interpreters and front-line workers in community organizations and legal clinics in their work.

The project could also pave the way for the establishment of standards and practices in language interpretation and can ultimately help reduce language barriers for many newcomer communities. It can enhance access to justice for the Tamil community and possibly for other linguistic minorities in the future.


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