|     printer icon  Printer-friendly version of this page

2014 California Rules of Court

Standard 2.11. Interpreted proceedings-instructing participants on procedure

(a) Instructions to interpreters

The court or the court's designee should give the following instructions to interpreters, either orally or in writing:

(1)Do not discuss the pending proceedings with a party or witness.

(2)Do not disclose communications between counsel and client.

(3)Do not give legal advice to a party or witness. Refer legal questions to the attorney or to the court.

(4)Inform the court if you are unable to interpret a word, expression, special terminology, or dialect, or have doubts about your linguistic expertise or ability to perform adequately in a particular case.

(5)Interpret all words, including slang, vulgarisms, and epithets, to convey the intended meaning.

(6)Use the first person when interpreting statements made in the first person. (For example, a statement or question should not be introduced with the words, "He says. . . .")

(7)Direct all inquiries or problems to the court and not to the witness or counsel. If necessary, you may request permission to approach the bench with counsel to discuss a problem.

(8)Position yourself near the witness or party without blocking the view of the judge, jury, or counsel.

(9)Inform the court if you become fatigued during the proceedings.

(10)When interpreting for a party at the counsel table, speak loudly enough to be heard by the party or counsel but not so loudly as to interfere with the proceedings.

(11)Interpret everything, including objections.

(12)If the court finds good cause under rule 2.893(e), hold a preappearance interview with the party or witness to become familiar with speech patterns and linguistic traits and to determine what technical or special terms may be used. Counsel may be present at the preappearance interview.

(13)During the preappearance interview with a non-English-speaking witness, give the witness the following instructions on the procedure to be followed when the witness is testifying:

(A)The witness must speak in a loud, clear voice so that the entire court and not just the interpreter can hear.

(B)The witness must direct all responses to the person asking the question, not to the interpreter.

(C)The witness must direct all questions to counsel or to the court and not to the interpreter. The witness may not seek advice from or engage in any discussion with the interpreter.

(14)During the preappearance interview with a non-English-speaking party, give the following instructions on the procedure to be used when the non-English-speaking party is not testifying:

(A)The interpreter will interpret all statements made in open court.

(B)The party must direct any questions to counsel. The interpreter will interpret all questions to counsel and the responses. The party may not seek advice from or engage in discussion with the interpreter.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Instructions to counsel

The court or the court's designee should give the following instructions to counsel, either orally or in writing:

(1)When examining a non-English-speaking witness, direct all questions to the witness and not to the interpreter. (For example, do not say to the interpreter, "Ask him if. . . .")

(2)If there is a disagreement with the interpretation, direct any objection to the court and not to the interpreter. Ask permission to approach the bench to discuss the problem.

(3)If you have a question regarding the qualifications of the interpreter, you may request permission to conduct a supplemental examination on the interpreter's qualifications.

Standard 2.11 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; repealed and adopted as sec. 18.1 effective January 1, 1999.

[ Back to Top ]