Why do Court Interpreters Need this Information?

Trials are expensive. A good number of lawyers love them. Some attorneys hate them. Many persons have vowed to have their day in court, and that day usually involves a trial. Disagreements are why trials exist. When individuals cannot agree or are at an impasse, this formal examination is brought before a competent court of the matter in issue in a civil or criminal cause in order to determine such issue.


Depending on the type of matter, the case is heard before a judge or a jury, usually consisting of 6 to 12 jurors and an alternate.  Hours of producing and receiving discovery and reviewing said discovery is what allows lawyers to build their case.  If the action proceeds to trial, lawyers must do their best to effectively represent their clients.


interview-851440_960_720To throw an additional wrench into to the complex proceeding, you realize that you have a party who is either limited English proficient or Deaf or Hearing Impaired.   Now you have to contract an interpreting team.  For the provision of interpreters for the deaf, applicable state law Section 15-27-15 requires interpretation of any legal proceeding (all, not part of it).  Provision for interpreters for limited English proficient people in civil matters is found in Section 15-27-155(A) and for criminal matters in Section 17-1-50(B)(1) also require interpretation of the proceedings (all, not part) and testimony.


No attorney accepts a new case scheduled for trial the following Monday.  Interpreters are not mind readers.  They are skilled in the craft of taking the message in a source language and conveying into the target language, performing this function simultaneously and consecutively, along with sight translation.  Because the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hearing Impaired individuals have the right to due process, it is imperative that the interpreters receive background information to properly prepare for trial.  What kind of background information is needed?


It would include, but is not limited to, dates, names of officer/investigator, locations, street names and numbers, type of action, reports, witness lists, expert witness CV, jury instructions, and glossaries.  Remember that each language, including sign language, has its own grammar, syntax, and semantics.  Some phrases in English can be longer or shorter (or equal length) than in the target language.  All the data will allow for seamless interpreting.  A certified interpreting team will definitely have simultaneous interpreting equipment, which will facilitate unobtrusive services.


When you include the interpreter as a valued, vital member of your court proceeding, it can afford you ample opportunity to prosecute or defend your case with minimal distractions.


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