If you do not speak English

If you do not speak English well, you can get help inside the courtroom when you talk to the judge, and outside the courtroom, to participate in programs or other services that the judge orders.

Inside the Courtroom

If you don’t speak or understand English very well, you may need an interpreter to help you in court.

Learn more about court interpreters and how to request one. Court interpreter information also available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, or Vietnamese.

Look for this symbol at your courthouse or ask the clerk for a Language Access Representative. The Language Access representative can tell you about language services available at your court.

Outside the Court

As part of your case, a judge may order you to participate in an activity outside of the courtroom. 
Examples are:

  • Parenting classes
  • Batterer intervention classes
  • Drug testing
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Counseling

If you do not speak English very well, and the judge orders you to participate in a program outside the courtroom, here are some things you can do:

Speak up in Court

If the judge orders you to participate in a program while you are in court, you can ask the judge if there is a program available in your language. You can ask this question through your attorney or interpreter.

Ask for Help

Every court has a Language Access Representative, who may be able to help you find a program that offers services in your language or that provides interpreters. Look for this symbol for language help at your courthouse or on your local court’s website.

Ask for a Different Order

If the judge ordered you to participate in a class or program and you cannot do what the judge ordered because the class or program is not in your language, you can tell the judge and ask for help.
Use Form LA-400 Service Not Available in My Language: Request to Change Court Order
Instructions for filling out this form:

  • Item 1: Provide your name, contact information, and languages you speak
  • Item 2: Provide information about the court’s order
  • Item 3: Select only one checkbox to:
    • ask the court to change your order; OR
    • ask the court for more time to participate in the program or service. If you are asking for more time and know when language assistance will be available, provide that date to the court.
  • Date, print your name, and sign the form. Keep a copy of the form.
  • File the form with the clerk of your court.

The Court’s Response

If you told the court you could not participate in a court-ordered service because of a language barrier and asked for more time or for a different order, the court may respond to your request using Form LA-450 Service Not Available in My Language: Order.
Instructions for reading this form:
Item 1: This section contains information about you. You may submit a copy to the court with this section filled out and leave the rest of the form blank.
Item 2: This section contains the court’s response to your request.
The court may:

  • make a different order in section (a);
  • extend a deadline for completion of a program in section (b);
  • make an additional order in section (c); or
  • deny your request and provide information about how to participate in the court-ordered program or service. The court will use section (d) to provide this information.

Clerk’s Certificate of Service

This section will be filled out by the court clerk to indicate who received a copy of the order, including you, the other party or parties to the case, and any government agencies involved.
Please note that, instead of using this form, the judge may respond to your request in a hearing.

Looking for Help in Your Language?

Translated Forms:

Additional resources coming soon.