RESOURCE constraints should not be an excuse to delay the long-awaited use of Chinese in courts, legislators said yesterday. A member of a steering group on the use of Chinese in courts, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, told legislators that one of the major problems in carrying out the programme was the 'massive resources' involved. Most spending would be on the recruitment of interpreters and upgrading recording equipment, he said. The first thing to do was to amend the Official Language Ordinance by early next year to allow the use of Chinese in higher courts. United Democrats chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming demanded that the administration show more determination and not use lack of resources as an excuse. 'If you are still saying that money is a problem, then the programme will have no future at all.' The Government had shown 'no leadership' in developing the scheme, which should have been started decades ago, he said. Veteran legislator Elsie Tu echoed his view, saying: 'If we've got no resources, the Government is entirely to blame.' Mr Cheung said the steering group had gauged the amount of money needed and had asked the Government to allocate more resources. He said the group was determined to crack the problem but would not risk rushing the issue. Qualified interpreters were difficult to hire, he said. Mr Lee suggested mock trials as an immediate method to identify possible problems with the use of Chinese. The panel also agreed that 'simultaneous interpretation' was the most effective and fastest way of carrying out the objective before 1997. Simon Ip, Legco's legal representative, said: 'It can take a long time to train simultaneous interpreters but it will take a longer time to train lawyers and judges.' His view was shared by the Law Society and the Bar Association. According to representatives from the two legal bodies, 50 per cent of solicitors and 30 per cent of barristers could use Chinese in court after some training. The administration was urged to release a glossary of legal terms in Chinese as soon as possible because it was the basic tool for a switch to using more Chinese. Bar Association chairman Ronny Wong Fook-hum said the Government should not wait for the glossary to be authenticated before it was released. It could always be revised after being put into use. He said the ultimate aim was to give equal standing to the use of English and Chinese in court, not the use of only Chinese. Jacqueline Leung QC urged the Government to formulate a firm timetable on the programme since full success would take one to two decades. May Wong, the Legal Department's acting deputy law draftsman said they had accumulated 10,000 entries of Chinese legal terms in computers and she expected a full and final glossary - with 40,000 words - could be issued. She described progress as satisfactory.