Court Interpreters Are Held to Very High Standards:

Court interpreters are a vital link that allow people the opportunity to express themselves as well as understand the information being provided to them in a court of law. Not only do court interpreters rely on their advanced language skills, legal knowledge, experience and cultural competency, it’s important they abide by a strict code of ethics as to ensure a high standard of professional conduct is kept across the language service industry. Court interpreters are required to act faithfully, independently, impartially and confidentiality while interpreting in a courtroom setting. The following is a breakdown of the code of ethics in which court interpreters tirelessly strive to uphold.

Complete Accuracy:

While interpreting in a court of law, it’s imperative court interpreters thoroughly and accurately render the source language into the target language without omitting or adding any information. Oftentimes when a court interpreter does not have the capabilities to perform the interpretation they search for words to use in place of words they do not know how to interpret. This allows for misunderstandings that can have detrimental outcomes. For example, in Chesterfield, Virginia, Patricia Michelsen-King observed a court proceeding while she waited her turn to provide interpretation services for the next hearing. Suddenly a man shouted from the back of the courtroom in Spanish, “I didn’t rape anybody!” Michelsen-King, who teaches Spanish interpretation at Virginia Commonwealth University, said, although the man in question was in court for running a red light, the interpreter told him he was accused of a “violación,” which means rape in Spanish. Michelsen-King said the interpreter should have used a better word choice such as, “infracción.” The man strongly contested to being accused of rape, however he admitted to the traffic violation. The smallest inaccuracy can literally put a person behind bars for the rest of their life.


Court interpreters are often exposed to highly confidential and sensitive information through interpretation and because they have access to documents or other written materials related to the cases they work on. It’s important clients and courtroom workers are able to trust the court interpreters they work with not to repeat or share information learned while on the job. The only reason in which a court interpreter would have a need to divulge private information is if it’s required by law or for safety related issues.

Cultural Competency and Sensitivity:

Court interpreters have to be experts regarding the associated cultures of the languages they speak. Cultural differences can significantly affect communication. It’s the job of court interpreters to anticipate misunderstandings that might arise and adapt the interpreted information in a way in which the client can fully understand.

Court Interpreters Need to Maintain Impartiality:

Professionally trained and experienced court interpreters are fully aware they are only there to interpret the exact information being exchanged. It’s vital court interpreters only interpret the intended meaning and not cloud it with their own personal thoughts and feelings. Court interprets are hired for their expertise in languages and cultures and their ability to bridge communication gaps between people who speak different languages. It’s not the place of a court interpreter to provide their opinions of the proceedings, it’s imperative they remain impartial throughout any interpretation session.

Court Interpreters Uphold a High Standard of Professionalism and Honesty:

Professional court interpreters must be truthful regarding their abilities, qualifications and in evaluating themselves as to not take work they are not competent to perform. When there is a lack in experience on the part of the court interpreter, clients are put at risk of facing detrimental outcomes due to poor interpretation and possible misunderstandings. Being truthful regarding your level of expertise is the only way to ensure accuracy can be provided while interpreting in a court of law.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment