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As cultures and associated languages spread their influence over the others, there arises the need for interpreting and translating services. Yet, it is quite simple to believe that interpretation is merely a case of translating a language for the other. It might come as an utter surprise to many that this is a misnomer, especially where public services are concerned. In fact, interpreting is one of the most critical needs in the public service industry! Right from social services to housing, benefits and court interpreting, the entire process demands skills of translation of language.

Courtroom interpreting is one of the most crucial services that one requires every time he/she walks into a courtroom trial. Courtroom interpretation demands a higher order understanding of arguments, logical terminology and even the court protocol. It requires a special knowledge and a mental agility to simultaneously interpret the proceedings. Though many of us don’t find the need for an interpreter, the law enforces it on us. For instance, if you are not adept with the local English at Wisconsin, US and you are heading towards the court, the state is required to provide to an interpreter in your native language.

Court Interpreters Are Your Helping Hand.

It is a known fact that courtroom terminologies and proceedings are beyond a lay man’s comprehension and thus, one does seek the need for an efficient and practiced interpreter. A good interpreter will be experienced with courtroom proceedings and will also be fluent with the appropriate public speaking skills. In fact, the right to a competent interpreter for anyone who is unable to comprehend the language of court is considered a fundamental rule of justice.

According to the Indiana government, US, code IC 34-45-1-3 entitles a party or witness to an interpreter for civil cases. In the same government, according to the Rule of Trial Procedure 43, the court may appoint an interpreter of its own selection and may fix his reasonable compensation. Other districts have their codes similarly. Therefore, this right is usually guarded in national constitutions, declarations of rights, fundamental laws establishing the judicial system.

Some Examples to Know

In the Garcia v/s State criminal trial, 2004, the court’s failure to appoint an interpreter for the defendant violated his sixth amendment right to confront witnesses.

In the trial of Nur v/s State, June 6, 2007, the Court of Appeals held that a trial court shall make a determination of need for an interpreter whenever put on notice of a significant language difficulty.

Yet another recent Indiana law case is of Vasquez v/s State, 2007, in which the Supreme Court reversed the trial court which had excluded the testimony of a Spanish speaking witness who was disclosed at a later date in the trial. The reason given for late disclosure of witness was defense counsel’s difficulties in communicating with his client, due to language barrier.

Such is the importance of a court interpreter!

Working on Ethical Grounds

In several jurisdictions, interpretation is considered an essential part of evidence and an incompetent interpretation or simply the failure to swear in the interpreter can lead to a mistrial. This is why people trust reliable interpreters who have thorough experience of courtroom interpretations as well as those who follow the ethical grounds of conduct. Although there is no uniform or national certification for State Court Interpreters, they are required to follow a generic uniform code of ethics such as those founded and established by the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (i.e. NAJIT). Note that Each State has its own certification standards for instance the State of California has the Judicial Council…please revise, unless I miss understood…thanks!

These ethical conducts include:

•          Accuracy

•          Confidentiality

•          Protocol & Demeanor

•          Impartiality and conflicts of Interest

•          Limitations of Practice

•          Impediments to Compliance

•          Maintenance & Improvement of Knowledge and Skill

•          Accurate Representation of Credentials

There can be several variations of this code of ethics but predominantly they resemble the same standards of obligation. As your personal court interpreter, they are also bound to maintain complete fidelity to the register or level of language being spoken. But it is also vital to note that whether it is the stylized language of legal professionals in courtrooms or the street slang & dialectical variations of typical parties/ witness, the interpreter is not there to ensure an understanding between parties; rather, they are there to be the voice of the parties involved, a voice that is comprehensible to everyone present in the courtroom.

At International Language Interpreters Inc,

Understanding the complexity in comprehending and following courtroom proceedings, we, at International Language Interpreters Inc, provide qualified and professional court interpreters. The translators and interpreters working with us pass rigid selection criteria related to the judicial makeup, making them the best in the industry!

Faviola Valencia Aranda

Faviola Valencia Aranda

Professional Spanish Interpreter | Translator | Trainer and Coach. Need a Spanish Interpreter or Translator? Need help getting your business started? Ask me how?

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