When an Interpreter is Needed

There are times when an Interpreter is needed in a case, whether it be for an individual who is deaf or perhaps the individual charged is from a foreign country. Extreme caution must be utilized in this situation.

For example, there are many types of Spanish languages, and a word in one spanish speaking country can mean something very different in another hispanic country. A bad interpreter can cause dire consequences in a criminal situation, and certainly this can cause a wrongful conviction. For an attorney, it is very important to understand that there can be dialect differences, cultural differences, "high" "low" and "slang" word usage from a particular country. A bad translation can turn a case on a dime.

The consequences of not understanding the complete nature of an individual needing an interpreter is critical. While most courts are willing to appoint an interpreter in a criminal case, it does not mean that the interpreter is competent. It is well worth the time for an attorney to schedule a time to speak with an interpreter outside the court environment, and query the interpreter's knowledge of his or her client's language. If it is possible, have the interpreter meet with the client and let them speak with one another, making a determination that there can be meaningful communication between them. Another rule of thumb, is the lawyer should not be afraid to obtain the Resume of the interpreter and then check out its reliability.

Categories: Criminal Defense