Legal Interpretation is a Necessity in Our Diverse Communities:
According to the Census Bureau there are over 350 languages and dialects spoken in the United States. The rapid influx of linguistic diversity is oftentimes causing confusion in our court systems. Clear communication is needed for lawyers to do their jobs and judges and juries to make sound decisions; language barriers are preventing that from happening. Language barriers, culture, and intense legal terminology put limited English proficient (LEP) individuals at a disadvantage when faced with legal matters in the United States. Not providing legal interpretation services can prevent justice from being served and can also put LEP individuals at risk of facing injustice. When communication is not sufficiently facilitated it leaves room for error which can leave LEP individuals in disastrous situations. Mitigating the hindrance caused by language barriers can ensure LEP individuals are treated fairly and information is correctly understood by all parties involved. Legal interpretation is not an option when interacting with LEP individuals in regards to legal matters, therefore understanding and utilizing best practices when working with a court interpreter ensures accuracy and a successful legal interpretation.
Valuable Tips For Your Next Legal Interpretation Session:
- Inform the Interpreter: If there are documents that pertain to the case, it’s ideal to provide your court interpreter with all necessary documentation prior to the legal interpretation session. Most court interpreters prefer to be able to read over any information that can prepare them for the interpretation. Allowing all parties involved to be on the same page can help to ensure and promote transparency and understanding.
- Speak Normally: Oftentimes during a legal interpretation session people speak directly to the court interpreter. You are not having a conversation with the court interpreter, they are there to facilitate communication between the LEP individual and the court workers. Speak directly to the LEP individual like you are having a normal conversation with them. Stay away from using overly complicated terminology. You may need to explain a meaning of a word or give examples if a definition is unclear. Allow enough time for the court interpreter to convey your message. More often than not meanings and concepts are not transferred word for word because there is not a direct translation.
- Give the Court Interpreter a Break: Listening, understanding and interpreting intense legal information all at once is exhausting and strenuous work. Court interpreters speak non-stop during sessions, even when the court breaks, the interpreter is still at work interpreting discussions between the LEP client and the attorney. They must accurately convey nuances of both languages, cultures, emotional undertones as well as body language. Interpreters’ brains fatigue and the quality of the interpretation begins to deteriorate after about 30-45 minutes into the session. The time depends on the pace of the conversation as well as the difficulty of subject matter and terminology used. Give the court interpreter a break every 30 minutes, they need time to rest and regroup, perhaps get a glass of water or simply move closer in order to hear and see better.
- Be Mindful, Patient and Respectful: Be mindful of how you phrase sentences and pose questions. It’s important to be straightforward with questions and responses as to ensure understanding. Simplicity in speech when communicating through a court interpreter is the best way to conduct your conversation. It’s imperative to be patient when trying to bridge language gaps. LEP individuals can easily get confused, overwhelmed and stressed with the legal matter at hand, taking the time to extend patience to the people involved can reduce misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. In many situations people will talk very slowly or speak loudly when trying to communicate with a LEP individual. Just because a person doesn’t speak English doesn’t mean they have a lower intellect level. Being respectful in situations where language and cultural barriers are present is not an option but a requirement.
Legal Interpretation Aids in Providing Justice for LEP individuals in Legal Settings:
Language barriers don’t have to stand in the way of justice, providing professional legal interpretation services can break down barriers and allow a clear understanding for all parties involved. Working with a court interpreter is the only way to prevent LEP individuals from getting “lost in translation” and potentially facing disastrous outcomes. Legal interpretation services aid in ensuring fairness and the basic right to voice your opinion, they also promote the integrity and accuracy of our judicial system. If you are in need of professional legal interpretation services, contact Niki’s Int’l Ltd., a language service company dedicated to facilitating accurate and transparent communication for LEP individuals faced with legal matters.
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 www.nilservices.com.