First and foremost, there is no room for mistakes for interpreters in a legal proceeding. A mistake with just one word can be detrimental to a person’s life, liberty, and future, resulting in a grave injustice. The nuances of language in a court case demand complete familiarity with legal terminology and fluency in the languages being used.
While many bilingual people are fluent in both languages, legal terminology is only within reach to those actual interpreting professionals who have dedicated many hours to learning it. The same applies to for professional interpreters who have also dedicated many more hours to develop the very challenging ability to interpret simultaneously.
If you are in need of a court interpreter (for in-court or out-of-court):
- Search your state’s directory of certified interpreters
- Locate either state or nationally certified interpreters since they have taken a test proving they possess at least the minimum skills necessary to pass that test.
- Visit the directory of the following professional associations:
- Seek out a reputable legal interpreter with plenty of experience and a great reputation
- If you use an agency, verify that its interpreter is certified and experienced
Only Federal and State certified interpreters have demonstrated they possess the minimum levels of language knowledge and interpreting skills required for court interpreting. All court records are recorded (or at least they should be). If you aren’t sure about the accuracy of the court interpreter, investing in translating the transcript and recording by a certified professional translator might be worth the effort in order to assure accuracy. This is one way to find out if the interpreter is worth keeping in the future.
By the way this funny Youtube video says English to Spanish, but it is actually Italian.