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Court interpreters must follow specific rules for what they can and can’t do.
Interpreters translate what is being said in the courtroom into your language and translate your words into English.
They must keep all communications between you and your lawyer confidential.
They must disclose any conflicts of interest they may have with your case.
They cannot give you legal advice.
Court interpreters cannot typically provide services outside of the courtroom.
Some courts have interpreters available in their self-help centers to assist with translation outside of the courtroom. You can contact your court’s self-help center to find out if this is available at your court.
Only qualified court interpreters can translate court proceedings.
You are not allowed to have a friend or relative who speaks English translate in court for you. However, if you will need help outside of the courtroom with getting information or filling out forms, you may get help from a friend or relative who speaks English.
The procedure for requesting an interpreter varies from one court to another. Your court’s website will list the steps required by your specific court to request an interpreter.
Here is some information you should look for on your court’s website so you can understand your court’s requirements:
Does my court require advanced notice for an interpreter to be present?
What form does my court use for requesting an interpreter? (Most courts use INT 300 but others use a different form.)
Does my court allow for interpreter requests to be made online or by email?
If your court requires a form to request an interpreter, your next step is to complete the form. The form is available in many languages but must be filled out in English. Many courts use the Request for Interpreter (civil) (form INT-300).
To complete the form, you need to know:
After you complete the form in English, return it to the Interpreter Coordinator’s Office as follows:
Trial Court LEP Plan Coordinator
200 South "G" Street
Madera, CA 93637
If you cannot hear or understand the interpreter tell the judge right away
Speak loudly and clearly, at a normal pace or a little slower
Speak only in your language
Listen only to the interpreter
Speak directly to the person asking the questions, not to the interpreter