Court Translation

Court Translation

Suppose you, as a plaintiff, defendant or representative, are traveling to a city abroad for a court hearing. And you need a court interpreter.

In many countries there is a special privileged category of so-called “sworn translators”. Sometimes they are simply called “court interpreters.”

As a rule, a translator who is an employee of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s company does not have the right to act as an interpreter at a trial, since in this case objectivity in the translation cannot be guaranteed.

If a Russian-speaking tourist or businessman is detained as a private person on the territory of, say, Germany or France, for administrative offenses, and even more so on suspicion of committing some criminal offenses, then, of course, he will not have to search for an interpreter himself. This will be handled by the local police or judicial authorities. But if you act as a plaintiff or defendant in proceedings in an arbitration court or at a hearing in a civil case, you can try to invite and propose to the court the candidacy of an independent sworn translator of your choice. The right of the court to admit or reject such a translator.

To successfully interpret in court, in addition to good consecutive interpreting skills, the translator will need knowledge of the legal terminology of the branch of law to which the trial relates. For example, civil law, commercial law or maritime law are very different areas with their own specific terms and legal nuances. All other things being equal, it is always better to choose a translator who already has experience of successfully interpreting similar trials. It is important that the translator has one hundred percent understanding by ear, first of all, of the language in which the proceedings are being conducted, as well as the ability to quickly and clearly translate all questions, answers and statements in court in one direction or another.

It is assumed that any certified “sworn translator” already, by definition, meets all these qualification requirements. But if in a given country there is no legalized category of jury or court interpreters, then it is better to inquire in advance what formal requirements the judicial authorities of this country impose on interpreters in order to allow them to interpret at court hearings, when interviewing witnesses, etc.

In any case, in the first place, as a rule, the translator has a document confirming his translation qualifications (a university diploma as a translator or a certificate of passing the relevant certification exam) and – as the second important factor – (not for the court, but for the translation customer) again, the translator has experience in professional translation in court.

Regardless of whether it is an official sworn translator or just a strong interpreter who understands the legal intricacies, for successful translation in court it is advisable to familiarize him in advance, at least in general terms, with the case materials and the positions of the parties in the legal dispute.

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