Courts And Community: Court Interpreters

Nov 11, 2019

As our nation becomes more and more diverse, the need for court interpreters continues to grow. Interpreting for a witness, defendant, victim, or lawyer during a court proceeding can ensure all people receive fair and equal access to justice.

Professional court interpreters are individuals who possess an educated, native-like mastery of both English and another language. In Arkansas, Spanish and Marshallese are the two most common languages requested for interpretation.

Five different interpreters were needed this year in the case of a 22-year-old Arkansas man facing a capital murder charge. The case involved interpreting Burmese, Karen, Marshallese, Kirundi, and Spanish.

A court interpreter is not meant to be an advocate for a defendant but rather be an impartial assistant. Interpreters do not answer questions about the details of a court case or give legal advice.