By Yana Schottenstein
Legal proceedings can be difficult for anyone with all of its complicated rules and potentially long duration. This especially a problem for this involved that don’t speak the native language because they may not know what’s going on around them, or understand what is expected of them through their participation. With that in mind, interpreters can be crucial in today’s court rooms. Here are some reasons that interpreters are important in courtrooms.
Not everyone in America speaks English, so non-English speakers have the potential to enter the courtroom in a variety of roles. A non-English speaker can be the plaintiff who brings the case forward, the defendant who is being called out by the case, a jury member that has a deciding vote on the trial’s outcome, or even witnesses that play a key role in forming the jury’s decision. With the wide range of languages that are spoken in the United States and the many different roles people can take, it is important that those that do not speak English are able to follow what is expected in their role.
Trials are not easy to understand, especially if the person is not originally from the United States and may not be familiar with our laws. An interpreter will help these people know which questions to ask potential witnesses and what evidence to present. Interpreters can also explain to them what is going on in the proceedings.
Trials can be long as it is, but having to try and piece something together from a person who can’t speak the language, or having to piece things together for them, will only make it go slower. With an interpreter, though, everyone will be on the same page about what the person is saying, or what is being said to the person in whatever role they are in in the courtroom. Quick translations will save time and keep everyone in the loop.
An interpreter will make sure that a person is not unfairly tried or questioned because of their lack of language skills. They will also make sure that the person is conveying the proper message, as they are supposed to be objective and not impose their own biases into the translations.
Yana Schottenstein, the founder of Access 2 Interpreters, contributed content to this article. Yana is a recipient of the International Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and is dedicated to providing equal opportunity and access to services for non-English speaking communities. Access 2 Interpreters is a leading translation and interpretation company in Columbus.