Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 4.19 B. Qualifications of Interpreter

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To be qualified for a particular case, the interpreter should be able to show the following qualifications:


(1)  The interpreter should be able fluently to speak and understand the same language and dialect spoken by the defendant as the native or “first” language.  See § 4.20, infra.


(2)  The interpreter should be certified as an interpreter in English and the defendant’s native language and dialect, or be able to speak and read at least at the 12th grade level in both languages.  To handle the difficult legal syntax and vocabulary, a qualified court interpreter should have the equivalent of at least a 12th grade education in both languages.[54]  See § 4.21, infra.


(3)  The interpreter should also be literate in both English and the defendant’s language, since court interpretation in criminal cases often requires translation of plea waiver forms containing complex syntax and vocabulary.  See § 4.22, infra.


(4)  The interpreter should be free from any bias or conflict of interest.  See § 4.23, infra.

[54] Ibid., at p. 240, n.12.