In the past, we had an attorney angrily complain about our independent certified court interpreter. She was furious because the certified interpreter continually paused and reminded her to speak directly to the deponent. The attorney kept forgetting; she kept speaking to the interpreter. After a while, the attorney became frustrated with his constant reminders. She never wanted to work with him again.
I know some uncertified interpreters. I have observed one in action; he is actually a very good interpreter. Though I encourage him to become certified, he demonstrates no interest. He has plenty of work; the courts and attorneys he knows prefers to work with him instead of certified interpreters. These lawyers have expressed to him that many certified interpreters are not only very expensive, but they also are demanding and difficult to work with. The attorneys worry if they speak the wrong way or look the wrong way that they will be rebuked by the interpreter. I have also heard the same complaints.
I understand that certified interpreters have the responsibility to educate others of interpreter ethical code. We also believe that. However, after we explain to lawyers to face and speak directly to the deponent, we don’t keep repeating it. Some attorneys are incredibly absent-minded; dogged reminders of ethical codes only slow down communication, create irritability and bad will. Often, the attorney faces the interpreter and states, “Ask Mr. Rodriguez where he was the morning of the accident.” I would just look directly at the deponent and render, “where were you the morning of the accident?” into his language. Usually, if an attorney continues to formulate questions in the third person, the court reporter will remind the lawyer to direct questions to the deponent.
Many certified interpreters that I have heard complaints about are highly skilled professionals. Maintaining a friendly attitude and being flexible can result in a better attitude toward certified interpreters. The outcome would place certified interpreters in greater demand and other non-certified interpreters would aspire to become certified.
Or is that the case? Next month, please return for the rebuttal to this blog entry by my wife and business partner. If you disagree with me, I appreciate you leaving a comments section. It may offer Emily more fuel for her refutation.