When judges, lawyers, and defendants can’t communicate with each other, the judiciary system quickly grinds to a dead halt. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. That’s because many courts lack the court interpreters that they need to keep the wheels of justice turning. In a country with both non-English speakers and limited English speakers, court interpreters play a critical role.

Ensuring Accurate Communication

Without effective communication, justice in the court system would be impossible. A non-English speaker can neither answer questions nor give important details if a court interpreter isn’t there to help. Even someone who knows some English usually has difficulty understanding and responding accurately.

A court interpreter can communicate the legal language of the court proceedings to the defendant. They can also interpret the responses of the defendant at the authentic level of simplicity or complexity expressed.

Giving Defendants a Voice

Non-English-speaking defendants may not be able to understand why they are being tried. They can’t communicate with their lawyer. They can’t explain to an only-English speaking judge why the charges against them aren’t valid.

They can’t give important details that might bring the judge to drop their case or reduce the charges. A court interpreter can give them the opportunity to tell their story and respond to questions about it. It’s an important aspect of giving defendants fair treatment.

Avoiding Court Delays

What happens when a defendant needs a court interpreter, and none is available? It’s simple. The court date is pushed back and rescheduled. One reason it happens is that the court can’t schedule a court interpreter until after they determine one is needed. That’s the first delay.

There may be other delays if an interpreter for the specific language needed is not available for each step of the process. Each delay costs both the court and the defendant precious time and money. The defendant may have problems getting back to court again. Every delay is frustrating for the defendant.

Avoiding Dropped Charges

If there are too many delays, the charges may eventually be dismissed. The court is required to provide a speedy trial. When the court can’t provide a court interpreter as needed, the delays can add up until they must drop the charges.

In Maui, an assistant professor named Kaeo needed a court interpreter to defend himself against charges related to a protest. He spoke Hawaiian, which is an official language of the state. Yet, no interpreters were available to help. The charges were dropped. No one will ever know whether Kaeo would have been convicted or not.

Scheduling interpreters is a large part of the solution. However, interpreter scheduling isn’t easy with so many different languages, so many court cases to cover, and so few interpreters to do the work. Fortunately, Interpreter Intelligence offers a platform that can help language services providers manage their interpreters to get the right ones where they’re needed. Find out how it works by contacting Interpreter Intelligence.

With efficient interpreter scheduling, the court runs smoothly and defendants get fair treatment. Everyone wins.

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