Having a Court Interpreter
In court, everything that is said matters. It can be nerve-wracking to be in a courtroom and even native English speakers can get flustered. The situation is even more extreme for those who are not advanced speakers of the language. Therefore, courts in California provide court interpreters whose job it is to interpret between English and the person’s language.
What does an interpreter do?
Most importantly, the interpreter is impartial and is there to simply make sure you understand everything that is said in the courtroom. They must also maintain confidentiality when it comes to discussions between a lawyer and a client. Since they’re not your lawyer, a court interpreter is to not provide any legal counsel.
In California, there are certified and registered court interpreters. They can speak a variety of languages, including American Sign Language.
How to get an interpreter
Most of the time, a court interpreter can help you for free. You have to request for a court interpreter to be present, otherwise, it will be assumed that you do not need one. Some courts in the state do not have free interpreters available. Before your court date, speak with your lawyer to find out if you can have access to a free interpreter depending on the court you will be attending.
Regardless of whether the interpreter is free, make sure they are qualified to do the job. You will want to make sure that you can communicate with the person and pay attention to any speed signals from the interpreter. Furthermore, when listening to a question or a comment, pay attention to the interpreter. Trying to listen to both the interpreter and the person speaking in English may lead to a misunderstanding.