DAOD 5039-4, Translation of Texts and Acquisition of Bilingual Documentation

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1999-03-31

Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).


  • CFAO 2-14, Translation, Terminology and Interpretation Services,
  • CFAO 2-15, Official Languages, paragraphs 27-29
  • NDHQ Policy Directive P1/95
  • NDHQ Policy Directive P3/95

Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Director Official Languages (DOL).

Enquiries: Director Official Languages (DOL)

2. Definitions

mixed readership (auditoire mixte)

Mixed readership exists when the distribution list for a document transmitted within a bilingual unit includes at least one addressee whose linguistic rights, under language of work, are different from the others.

technical documentation (documentation technique)

Technical documentation refers to any orders, directives, instructions or other documentation related to equipment (example: Canadian Forces Technical Orders (CFTOs)).

Translation Accuracy Check (TAC) (vérification de l'exactitude de la traduction (VET))

Translation accuracy check (TAC) is the means by which the content specialist ensures that the translation perfectly mirrors the original text in its content as well as its grammar.

3. Overview


3.1 Many DND and CAF documents must meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, Treasury Board guidelines for official languages, and DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages.

3.2 There are several ways of obtaining a document in both official languages. These include:

  1. writing the document in both languages;
  2. adapting text in the second language;
  3. purchasing equivalent commercial publications in the second language or bilingual publications through the capital and equipment acquisition process; and
  4. translating.

3.3 To translate documents, the DND and the CAF may choose to acquire the services of the Translation Bureau of Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) or the private sector.

3.4 The DND and the CAF must, however, pay for such services from translation funds included in Group and Command operating budgets.

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4. Obtaining Documentation in Both Official Languages

Operating Principles

4.1 When obtaining documentation in both official languages (i.e. whether purchasing a bilingual publication, producing it in-house, or having the document translated into the other official language), DND and the CAF must ensure that:

  1. the quality of English and French versions is comparable; and
  2. they are available simultaneously.

Determining the Needs

4.2 Documentation is required in both official languages and must be issued simultaneously, if it:

  1. is intended for the public in the National Capital Region and in any point of service designated as bilingual for services to the public;
  2. affects the health or security of personnel using the material;
  3. is required for training purposes in both French Language Units (FLUs) and English Language Units (ELUs) or in Bilingual Units (BUs) or for occupational instruction of military personnel;
  4. will be used as a work instrument or for supervision purposes in both FLUs and ELUs or in BUs where personal and central services must be provided in both official languages; and
  5. is intended, either at the outset or following redistribution, for a mixed readership within a BU.

Means of Procuring Bilingual Documentation

4.3 When a bilingual document is required, the Office of Primary Interest (OPI) may :

  1. purchase the bilingual version (especially for technical documents);
  2. produce bilingual documents using internal resources (usually for short texts of an administrative nature); or
  3. have the translation produced by the Translation Bureau or in the private sector.

4.4 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Translation Bureau and DND and the CAF (both represented by the Director Official Languages) outlines the conditions under which it will provide services.

4.5 This understanding allows Groups and Commands who wish to do business with the Translation Bureau to determine their translation needs and to obtain translation and specialised linguistic services.

Note - OPIs who negotiate and conclude contractual arrangements must comply with the Treasury Board Secretariat Contracting Policy.


4.6 All translations must be consistent with approved DND and CF terminology.

4.7 The Director Information Resource Plans and Regulation (DIRPR) co-ordinates the management of terminology for the Groups and Commands through the Defence Terminology Management System (DTMS).

4.8 Approved terminology sources, in order of priority, are:

  1. DTMS terminology bank;
  2. Concise Oxford Dictionary (for English);
  3. Petit Robert (for French);
  4. Termium®, PWGSC Translation Bureau Linguistic Data Bank; and
  5. any other available source approved by DND and the CAF.

Note - Termium® contains millions of English and French terms; however, some terms are obsolete and should be avoided, while others have not been approved by DND. Termium® is currently available free of charge to all DND employees and members of the CAF in the performance of their duties. Contact DIRPR 6-3 for a copy.

Quality Assurance

4.9 The OPI is responsible for the linguistic quality and accuracy of the content in both official languages.

4.10 When OPIs do not have the internal resources to perform quality assurance, they may:

  1. ask Group or Command language quality advisors to do the revision;
  2. purchase revision services from the Translation Bureau of PWGSC; or
  3. purchase revision services from the private sector.

4.11 To ensure the quality of translated texts, it is recommended that the documents be translated by certified translators at the outset (i.e. members of an authorised provincial association of translators, or by the Translation Bureau of PWGSC).

Note - When it is a contract requirement, the supplier must ensure the bilingual documentation's accuracy with an attestation that the Translation Accuracy Check (TAC) was done.

Technical Documentation

4.12 Provisions laid out in this DAOD and in the Material Management Instruction, A-LM-505-010/JS-001, Official Languages Requirements for Technical Documentation must be respected when producing technical documentation.


4.13 Documents not published by the DND or the CAF are usually covered by copyright.

4.14 The OPI shall obtain written authorisation from the copyright holder before translating them.

Sensitive Material

4.15 Personnel working on DND and CAF documents must possess the appropriate security clearance.

4.16 Personnel at the Translation Bureau have the capacity to handle sensitive material in an appropriate manner. The security clearance of personnel from other translation suppliers must be verified in each case to ensure appropriate security clearances are held.

5. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

5.1 The following table identifies the primary responsibilities for this instruction.

The … is/are responsible for …


  • developing DND and CAF translation policy ;
  • negotiating and signing, on behalf of DND and the CAF, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Translation Bureau of PWGSC; and
  • reporting translation costs annually to Treasury Board.

Groups and Commands

  • reporting translation costs annually to DOL.

Signing Authorities

  • negotiating service agreements with the Translation Bureau or the private sector for their respective organizations;
  • authorizing translation expenses;
  • assigning translation service contracts within the limits prescribed for service contracts; and
  • developing guidelines and/or procedures for obtaining translation services in their respective organisations.

6. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

  • A-AD-102-001/AG-001, Official Languages in DND and the CF, dated July 1 1998
  • A-LM-505-010/JS-001, Official Languages Requirements for Technical Documentation
  • PWGSC Publication, Standard Acquisition Clauses and Conditions
  • CFAO 57-12, Publication Management Policy
  • CFAO 9-53, Language of Instruction
  • CFAO 2-15, Official Languages
  • Treasury Board Manual, Official Languages (Component)
  • Treasury Board Secretariat, Contracting Policy
  • Delegation of Authorities for Financial Administration for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
  • DAOD 7014-0, Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)
  • Defence Terminology Management System (DTMS)
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