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Court Interpreter Inquiry Questions

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Court Interpreter Inquiry Questions
MD Rules, Ct Interp Questions
Court Interpreter Inquiry Questions
All spoken and sign language interpreters appointed by the court may be asked the following questions at the beginning of the hearing:
(a) State your full name.
(b) Are you listed on the Maryland Court Interpreter Registry?
(c) Do you have any potential conflicts of interest in this case?
(d) Did you have an opportunity to speak with the person for whom interpreter services are to be provided before the hearing today to make sure you understand each other?
(e) Do you anticipate any difficulties in communicating with that person?
Interpreters who are listed on the Maryland Court Interpreter Registry, regardless of whether they are qualified interpreters or certified interpreters, have been trained and determined eligible for service, and they need not be questioned other than to establish their status on the Registry. The following questions may be used when an interpreter who is not listed on the Registry has been assigned to serve in a court proceeding. This may include interpreters provided through an approved agency. Agency interpreters may not have received training on interpreting in a legal setting. The court also may want to question interpreters who are listed on the Registry if the court is concerned about the interpreter's skills or ability or has a concern about ethical issues.
These questions are intended to elicit from a prospective interpreter, whether sign or spoken language, the information that the court needs to determine whether an individual is a competent court interpreter and whether the individual is an appropriate interpreter for the particular case.
(1) Where are you employed currently?
(The court needs to determine whether there is any potential conflict due to full- or part-time employment of an interpreter or assignments as an independent contractor.)
(2) How long have you known [sign/spoken] language?
(Research indicates that it takes between 6 to 10 years of language study and use before an individual has the language skills necessary to learn the interpreting process in his or her second language.)
(3) Where did you learn [sign/spoken language]?
(A mix of formal and informal language training is an asset.)
(4) Can you communicate fluently in [sign/spoken language]?
(5) What is your educational background?
(Formal education may vary dramatically among interpreters, depending on their cultural heritage. Because of the complexity of interpreting, the court is urged not to accept an interpreter on the basis of the court's examination unless the interpreter has at least a high school education or its cultural equivalent.)
(6) What formal interpreter training have you undertaken?
(7) Are you certified? By whom? What is your certification called?
(For ASL interpreters, the court should ask whether they are certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) or by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).)
(8) Have you spent time in a country where the spoken language is used?
(9) Are you active in any professional organization?
(10) How many times have you interpreted in court and in what kinds of situations?
(11) What process would you use to inform the Court of an error in your interpretation?
(12) Do you have, in a state or federal court of record, a pending criminal charge or criminal conviction on a charge punishable by a fine of more than $500 or imprisonment for more than 6 months for which you have not been pardoned or for which the charge or conviction has not been expunged?


[Adopted Oct. 31, 2002, eff. Jan. 1, 2003. Amended March 2, 2015, eff. July 1, 2015; Oct. 10, 2018, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.]
MD Rules, Ct Interp Questions, MD R Ct Interp Questions
Current with amendments received through May 1, 2024. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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