Court Interpreters and Legal Translators play a crucial role in public administration, especially within the US legal system. Court interpreters in particular have gained standing as officers of the courts. People’s legal matters involving high-risk situations and personal freedoms are at stake. Thus, professional certified or otherwise qualified interpreters are needed to work in public and legal settings.
Our Certified Court Interpreters work with the court system to provide language access to the judicial system for those who do not speak English or do not speak English fluently. Court Interpreters interpret for witnesses, defendants, victims and their families as well as legal representatives and officers of the Court and staff. Our professional interpreters preserve the same tone and connotation as the speaker without adding, deleting or amending anything from the conversation, following a strict Code of Professional Conduct/Code of Ethics.
Court Interpreters work in the three modes of interpretation:
- Simultaneous interpretation. (i.e., during the entire court or legal proceeding for the LEP to be legally present) Because of its complexity, our interpreters work in pairs and utilize simultaneous interpreting equipment.
- Consecutive interpretation (i.e., witness stand testimony, depositions, etc.)
- Sight translation (i.e., document written in the source language and needs to be read aloud in English by the interpreter for the record during a court proceeding)
Court Interpretation at a Glance
Working in a legal setting requires advanced interpreting competency, including the ability to effectively perform consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, as well as sight translating complex texts that may come up during court proceedings. It is imperative to work effectively in interpreting teams, including particularly the ability to work collaboratively with Deaf Interpreters (DIs), and to adapt language use to a wide range of sign language users. Further, it requires court interpreters to own an in depth understanding of law enforcement and the legal system.
1. Do I need a court interpreter?
Language Access is a Legal Right
There are multiple situations in which the appointment of a court interpreter will be appropriate. Generally speaking, it is when an individual’s full participation in a court proceeding is placed in jeopardy due to a language gap where the individual is unable to adequately understand or express themselves in English will the individual need to have a qualified spoken language court interpreter assigned to them. Other cases that may call for the appointment by the court of a court interpreter include but are not limited to the following: juvenile delinquency, circuit, and county criminal cases, mental and physical health proceedings, and domestic violence injunctions. Even though court interpreters are essential to those court proceedings in which they are duly needed, it is important to note that court interpreters will not always be provided by the courts and it is then that appropriate arrangements for their interpreting services must be made.