Publication details [#16063]

Grabau, Charles M. and Joseph Gibbons Llewellyn. 1996. Protecting the rights of linguistic minorities: challenges to court interpretation. New England Law Review 30 (2).
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Edition info
No page numbers available.


Often some parties are denied a fair and impartial trial because judges are either insensitive to the necessity of a qualified court interpreter to protect the rights of a non-English speaker--a linguistic minority - or act as if they have no control over the interpreter, and consequently over the proceeding. This situation arises because the judge is unprepared to deal with an unqualified court interpreter or an interpretation problem that arises during a proceeding. Judges who are unfamiliar with the responsibilities of a court interpreter often accept interpreting services of any bilingual individual assigned to his or her trial session or of any helpful spectator in the courtroom without knowing his or her qualifications. Judges frequently must rely on individuals who have received little or no training in the skills needed to be a qualified court interpreter. While the focus of this article is on the use of court interpreters in a criminal proceeding, the principles discussed and the suggestions made are generally applicable to any civil or administrative proceeding requiring an interpreter. This article discusses the statutory and constitutional rights of defendants and witnesses to have access to a court interpreter, court interpreter qualifications, ethical issues in court interpreting, and some common problems that frequently occur during judicial proceedings. Throughout the article there are suggestions that will facilitate the proper use of court interpreters. The article concludes with a recommendation for increased awareness by judges, attorneys, and other participants in the legal system of the unique role a professional court interpreter serves in promoting equal access to the courts, and a recommendation that states adopt uniform court interpreter certification programs.
Source : Based on bitra