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2018 California Rules of Court

Rule 2.893. Appointment of interpreters in court proceedings

(a) Application

This rule applies to all trial court proceedings in which the court appoints an interpreter for a Limited English Proficient (LEP) person. This rule applies to spoken language interpreters in languages designated and not designated by the Judicial Council.

(b) Definitions

As used in this rule:

(1)"Designated language" means a language selected by the Judicial Council for the development of a certification program under Government Code section 68562;

(2)"Certified interpreter" means an interpreter who is certified by the Judicial Council to interpret a language designated by the Judicial Council under Government Code section 68560 et seq.;

(3)"Registered interpreter" means an interpreter in a language not designated by the Judicial Council, who is qualified by the court under the qualification procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council, and who has passed a minimum of an English fluency examination offered by a testing entity approved by the Judicial Council under Government Code section 68560 et seq.;

(4)"Noncertified interpreter" means an interpreter who is not certified by the Judicial Council to interpret a language designated by the Judicial Council under Government Code section 68560 et seq.;

(5)"Nonregistered interpreter" means an interpreter in a language not designated by the Judicial Council who has not been qualified under the qualification procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council under Government Code section 68560 et seq.;

(6)"Provisionally qualified" means an interpreter who is neither certified nor registered but has been qualified under the good cause and qualification procedures and guidelines adopted by the Judicial Council under Government Code section 68560 et seq.;

(7)"Temporary interpreter" means an interpreter who is not certified, registered, or provisionally qualified, but is used one time, in a brief, routine matter.

(c) Appointment of certified or registered interpreters

If a court appoints a certified or registered court interpreter, the judge in the proceeding must require the following to be stated on the record:

(1)The language to be interpreted;

(2)The name of the interpreter;

(3)The interpreter's current certification or registration number;

(4)A statement that the interpreter's identification has been verified as required by statute;

(5)A statement that the interpreter is certified or registered to interpret in the language to be interpreted; and

(6)A statement that the interpreter was administered the interpreter's oath or that he or she has an oath on file with the court.

(d) Appointment or use of noncertified or nonregistered interpreters

(1)When permissible

If after a diligent search a certified or registered interpreter is not available, the judge in the proceeding may either appoint a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter who has been provisionally qualified under (d)(3) or, in the limited circumstances specified in (d)(4), may use a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter who is not provisionally qualified.

(2)Required record

In all cases in which a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter is appointed or used, the judge in the proceeding must require the following to be stated on the record:

(A)The language to be interpreted;

(B)A finding that a certified or registered interpreter is not available and a statement regarding whether a Certification of Unavailability of Certified or Registered Interpreter (form INT-120) for the language to be interpreted is on file for this date with the court administrator;

(C)A finding that good cause exists to appoint a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter;

(D)The name of the interpreter;

(E)A statement that the interpreter is not certified or registered to interpret in the language to be interpreted;

(F)A finding that the interpreter is qualified to interpret in the proceeding as required in (d)(3) or (d)(4); and

(G)A statement that the interpreter was administered the interpreter's oath.

(3)Provisional qualification

(A)A noncertified or nonregistered interpreter is provisionally qualified if the presiding judge of the court or other judicial officer designated by the presiding judge:

(i)Finds the noncertified or nonregistered interpreter to be provisionally qualified following the Procedures to Appoint a Noncertified or Nonregistered Spoken Language Interpreter as Either Provisionally Qualified or Temporary (form INT-100-INFO); and

(ii)Signs an order allowing the interpreter to be considered for appointment on Qualifications of a Noncertified or Nonregistered Spoken Language Interpreter (form INT-110). The period covered by this order may not exceed a maximum of six months.

(B)To appoint a provisionally qualified interpreter, in addition to the matters that must be stated on the record under (d)(2), the judge in the proceeding must state on the record:

(i)A finding that the interpreter is qualified to interpret the proceeding, following procedures adopted by the Judicial Council (see forms INT-100-INFO, INT-110, and INT-120);

(ii)A finding, if applicable, that good cause exists under (f)(1)(B) for the court to appoint the interpreter beyond the time ordinarily allowed in (f); and

(iii)If a party has objected to the appointment of the proposed interpreter or has waived the appointment of a certified or registered interpreter.

(4)Temporary use

At the request of an LEP person, a temporary interpreter may be used to prevent burdensome delay or in other unusual circumstances if:

(A)The judge in the proceeding finds on the record that:

(i)The LEP person has been informed of their right to an interpreter and has waived the appointment of a certified or registered interpreter or an interpreter who could be provisionally qualified by the presiding judge as provided in (d)(3);

(ii)Good cause exists to appoint an interpreter who is not certified, registered, or provisionally qualified; and

(iii)The interpreter is qualified to interpret that proceeding, following procedures adopted by the Judicial Council (see forms INT-100-INFO and INT-140).

(B)The use of an interpreter under this subdivision is limited to a single brief, routine matter before the court. The use of the interpreter in this circumstance may not be extended to subsequent proceedings without again following the procedure set forth in this subdivision.

(e) Appointment of intermediary interpreters working between two languages that do not include English

An interpreter who works as an intermediary between two languages that do not include English (a relay interpreter) is not eligible to become certified or registered. However, a relay interpreter can become provisionally qualified if the judge finds that he or she is qualified to interpret the proceeding following procedures adopted by the Judicial Council (see forms INT-100-INFO, INT-110, and INT-120). The limitations in (f) below do not apply to relay interpreters.

(f) Limit on appointment of provisionally qualified noncertified and nonregistered interpreters

(1)A noncertified or nonregistered interpreter who is provisionally qualified under (d)(3) may not interpret in any trial court for more than any four six-month periods, except in the following circumstances:

(A)A noncertified interpreter of Spanish may be allowed to interpret for no more than any two six-month periods in counties with a population greater than 80,000.

(B)A noncertified or nonregistered interpreter may be allowed to interpret more than any four six-month periods, or any two six-month periods for an interpreter of Spanish under (f)(1)(A), if the judge in the proceeding makes a specific finding on the record in each case in which the interpreter is sworn that good cause exists to appoint the interpreter, notwithstanding the interpreter's failure to achieve Judicial Council certification.

(2)Except as provided in (f)(3), each six-month period under (f)(1) begins on the date a presiding judge signs an order under (d)(3)(A)(ii) allowing the noncertified or nonregistered interpreter to be considered for appointment.

(3)If an interpreter is provisionally qualified under (d)(3) in more than one court at the same time, each six-month period runs concurrently for purposes of determining the maximum periods allowed in this subdivision.

(4)Beginning with the second six-month period under (f)(1), a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter may be appointed if he or she meets all of the following conditions:

(A)The interpreter has taken the State of California Court Interpreter Written Exam at least once during the 12 calendar months before the appointment;

(B)The interpreter has taken the State of California's court interpreter ethics course for interpreters seeking appointment as a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter, or is certified or registered in a different language from the one in which he or she is being appointed; and

(C)The interpreter has taken the State of California's online court interpreter orientation course, or is certified or registered in a different language from the one in which he or she is being appointed.

(5)Beginning with the third six-month period under (f)(1), a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter may be appointed if he or she meets all of the following conditions:

(A)The interpreter has taken and passed the State of California Court Interpreter Written Exam with such timing that he or she is eligible to take a Bilingual Interpreting Exam; and

(B)The interpreter has taken either the Bilingual Interpreting Exam or the relevant Oral Proficiency Exam(s) for his or her language pairing at least once during the 12 calendar months before the appointment.

(6)The restrictions in (f)(5)(B) do not apply to any interpreter who seeks appointment in a language pairing for which no exam is available.

(7)The restrictions in (f)(4) and (5) may be waived by the presiding judge for good cause whenever there are fewer than 25 certified or registered interpreters enrolled on the Judicial Council's statewide roster for the language requiring interpretation.

Rule 2.893 adopted effective January 1, 2018.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivisions (c) and (d)(2). When a court reporter is transcribing the proceedings, or an electronic recording is being made of the proceedings, a judge may satisfy the "on the record" requirement by stating the required details of the interpreter appointment in open court. If there is no court reporter and no electronic recording is being made, the "on the record" requirement may be satisfied by stating the required details of the interpreter appointment and documenting them in writing-such as in a minute order, the official clerk's minutes, a formal order, or even a handwritten document-that is entered in the case file.

Subdivision (d)(4). This provision is intended to allow for the one-time use of a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter who is not provisionally qualified to interpret for an LEP person in a courtroom event. This provision is not intended to be used to meet the extended or ongoing interpretation needs of LEP court users.

Subdivision (b)(7) and (d)(4). When determining whether the matter before the court is a "brief, routine matter" for which a noncertified or nonregistered interpreter who has not been provisionally qualified may be used, the judicial officer should consider the complexity of the matter at issue and likelihood of potential impacts on the LEP person's substantive rights, keeping in mind the consequences that could flow from inaccurate or incomplete interpretation of the proceedings.

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