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RULE 1-333. COURT INTERPRETERS

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 1. General Provisions
Chapter 300. General Provisions
MD Rules, Rule 1-333
RULE 1-333. COURT INTERPRETERS
(a) Definitions. In this Rule, the following definitions apply except as otherwise expressly provided or as necessary implication requires:
(1) Certified Interpreter. “Certified Interpreter” means an interpreter who is certified by:
(A) the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts;
(B) any member of the Council for Language Access Coordinators, provided that, if the interpreter was not approved by the Maryland member of the Council, the interpreter has successfully completed the orientation program required by the Maryland member of the Council;
Committee note: The Council for Language Access Coordinators is a unit of the National Center for State Courts.
(C) the Administrative Office of the United States Courts; or
(D) if the interpreter is a sign language interpreter, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the National Association of the Deaf.
(2) Individual Who Needs an Interpreter. “Individual who needs an interpreter” means a party, attorney, witness, or victim who is deaf or unable adequately to understand or express himself or herself in spoken or written English and a juror or prospective juror who is deaf.
(3) Interpreter. “Interpreter” means an adult who has the ability to render a complete and accurate interpretation or sight translation, without altering, omitting, or adding anything to what is stated or written and without explanation.
(4) Non-Registry Interpreter. “Non-registry interpreter” means an interpreter who has not completed the Maryland Judiciary's orientation program and is not listed on the Court Interpreter Registry.
(5) Proceeding. “Proceeding” means (A) any trial, hearing, argument on appeal, or other matter held in open court in an action, and (B) an event not conducted in open court that is in connection with an action and is in a category of events for which the court is required by Administrative Order of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to provide an interpreter for an individual who needs an interpreter.
(6) Qualified Interpreter. “Qualified Interpreter” means an interpreter who is not a certified interpreter but who:
(A) has submitted to the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts a completed Maryland State Judiciary Information Form for Spoken and Sign Language Court Interpreters and an oath that the interpreter will comply with the Maryland Code of Conduct for Court Interpreters;
(B) has successfully completed the Maryland Judiciary's orientation workshop on court interpreting; and
(C) does not have, in a state or federal court of record, a pending criminal charge or conviction on a charge punishable by a fine of more than $500 or imprisonment for more than six months unless the interpreter has been pardoned or the conviction has been overturned or expunged in accordance with law.
(7) Registry. “Registry” means the Court Interpreter Registry, a listing of certified and qualified interpreters who have fulfilled the requirements necessary to receive assignments under the Maryland Court Interpreter Program.
(8) Victim. “Victim” includes a victim's representative as defined in Code, Criminal Procedure Article, § 11-104.
(b) Spoken Language Interpreters
(1) Applicability. This section applies to spoken language interpreters. It does not apply to sign language interpreters.
Cross reference: For the procedure to request a sign language interpreter, see Rule 1-332.
(2) Application for the Appointment of an Interpreter. An individual who needs an interpreter shall file an application for the appointment of an interpreter. To the extent practicable, the application shall be filed not later than 30 days before the proceeding for which the interpreter is requested on a form approved by the State Court Administrator and available from the clerk of the court and on the Judiciary website. If a timely and complete application is filed, the court shall appoint an interpreter free of charge in court proceedings in accordance with section (c) of this Rule.
(3) When Additional Application Not Required
(A) Party. If a party who is an individual who needs an interpreter includes on the application a request for an interpreter for all proceedings in the action, the court shall provide an interpreter for each proceeding without requiring a separate application prior to each proceeding.
Committee note: A nonparty who may qualify as an individual who needs an interpreter must timely file an application for each proceeding for which an interpreter is requested.
(B) Continued or Postponed Proceedings. Subject to subsection (b)(5) of this Rule, if an individual who needs an interpreter filed a timely application and the proceeding for which the interpreter was requested is continued or postponed, the court shall provide an interpreter for the continued or postponed proceeding without requiring the individual to file an additional application.
(4) Where Timely Application Not Filed. If an application is filed, but not timely filed pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of this Rule, or an individual who may qualify as an individual who needs an interpreter appears at a proceeding without having filed an application, the court shall make a diligent effort to secure the appointment of an interpreter and may either appoint an interpreter pursuant to section (c) of this Rule or determine the need for an interpreter as follows:
(A) Examination on the Record. To determine whether an interpreter is needed, the court, on request or on its own initiative, shall examine a party, attorney, witness, or victim on the record. The court shall appoint an interpreter if the court determines that:
(i) the party does not understand English well enough to participate fully in the proceedings and to assist the party's attorney, or
(ii) the party, attorney, witness, or victim does not speak English well enough to readily understand or communicate the spoken English language.
(B) Scope of Examination. The court's examination of the party, witness, or victim should include questions relating to:
(i) identification;
(ii) active vocabulary in vernacular English; and
(iii) the court proceedings.
Committee note: Examples of matters relating to identification are: name, address, birth date, age, and place of birth. Examples of questions that elicit active vocabulary in vernacular English are: How did you come to court today? What kind of work do you do? Where did you go to school? What was the highest grade you completed? What do you see in the courtroom? Examples of questions relating to the proceedings are: What do you understand this case to be about? What is the purpose of what we are doing here in court? What can you tell me about the rights of the parties to a court case? What are the responsibilities of a court witness? Questions should be phrased to avoid “yes or no” replies.
(5) Notice When Interpreter Is Not Needed. If an individual who needs an interpreter will not be present at a proceeding for which an interpreter had been requested, including a proceeding that had been continued or postponed, the individual, the individual's attorney, or the party or attorney who subpoenaed or otherwise requested the appearance of the individual shall notify the court as far in advance as practicable that an interpreter is not needed for that proceeding.
(c) Selection and Appointment of Interpreters
(1) Certified Interpreter Required; Exceptions. When the court determines that an interpreter is needed, the court shall make a diligent effort to obtain the services of a certified interpreter. If a certified interpreter is not available, the court shall make a diligent effort to obtain the services of a qualified interpreter. The court may appoint a non-registry interpreter only if a registry interpreter is not available. An individual related by blood or marriage to a party or to the individual who needs an interpreter may not act as an interpreter.
Committee note: The court should be cautious about appointing a non-registry interpreter and should consider carefully the seriousness of the case and the availability of resources before doing so.
(2) Inquiry of Prospective Interpreter
(A) Except as provided in subsection (c)(2)(B) of this Rule, before appointing an interpreter under this Rule, the court shall conduct an appropriate inquiry of the prospective interpreter on the record with respect to the interpreter's skills and qualifications and any potential conflicts or other ethical issues. The court may permit the parties to participate in that inquiry.
(B) If the interpreter is a court-employed staff interpreter, the court may dispense with any inquiry regarding the interpreter's skills and qualifications.
Committee note: The court should use the Court Interpreter Inquiry Questions included as an Appendix to these Rules.
(3) Oath
(A) Generally. Before acting as an interpreter in a proceeding, an interpreter shall take an oath to interpret accurately, completely, and impartially and to refrain from knowingly disclosing confidential or privileged information obtained while serving in the proceeding. If the interpreter is to serve in a grand jury proceeding, the interpreter also shall take an oath that the interpreter will keep secret all matters and things occurring before the grand jury.
(B) Court-employed Staff Interpreters. Upon employment, a court-employed staff interpreter shall make the prescribed oaths in writing and file them with the clerk of each court in which the interpreter will serve and with the Administrative Office of the Courts. The oath shall be applicable to all proceedings in which the interpreter is called to serve and need not be repeated on each occasion.
Committee note: Court-employed staff interpreters often are in and out of court, substituting for other court-employed staff interpreters, and the need for an oath may be overlooked. The intent of subsection (c)(3)(B) is to assure that each applicable prescribed oath has been made.
(4) Multiple Interpreters in the Same Language. At the request of a party or on its own initiative, the court may appoint more than one interpreter in the same language to ensure the accuracy of the interpretation or to preserve confidentiality if:
(A) the proceedings are expected to exceed three hours;
(B) the proceedings include complex issues and terminology or other such challenges; or
(C) an opposing party requires an interpreter in the same language.
Committee note: To ensure accurate interpretation, an interpreter should be granted reasonable rest periods at frequent intervals.
(d) Removal From Proceeding. A court interpreter may be removed from a proceeding by a judge or judicial appointee within the meaning of Rule 18-200.3 (a)(1), who shall then notify the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts that the action was taken.
(e) Compensation of Court Interpreters. Compensation for interpreters shall be in accordance with a schedule adopted by the State Court Administrator consistent with Code, Criminal Procedure Article, §§ 1-202 and 3-103 and Code, Courts Article, § 9-114.
Committee note: Code, Courts Article, § 9-114 provides for the appointment of interpreters for certain parties and witnesses, generally. Code, Criminal Procedure Article, §§ 1-202 and 3-103 provide for the appointment of interpreters for certain defendants in criminal proceedings and proceedings under Title 3 of that Article.
Source: This Rule is derived from former Rule 16-819 (2014).

Credits

[Adopted March 2, 2015, eff. July 1, 2015. Amended Sept. 17, 2015, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016; Oct. 10, 2018, eff. Jan. 1, 2019.]

Editors' Notes

HISTORICAL NOTES
2015 Orders
The September 17, 2015, order, corrected an internal reference.
2016 Orders
The June 6, 2016, order revised an internal reference in the Rule.
2018 Orders
The October 10, 2018 order, deleted the definition of “interpreter eligible for certification”; replaced the definition of “non-certified interpreters” with a definition of “non-registry interpreter”; in subsection (a)(4), added language referring to an interpreter who has not completed the Maryland Judiciary's Orientation Program and is not listed on the Court Interpreter Registry; in subsection (a)(6), added a definition of “qualified interpreter” that incorporates the provisions of the deleted term “interpreter eligible for certification,” with stylistic changes; in subsection (a)(7), added a new definition of the term “registry”; in subsection (c)(1), revised terminology to refer to qualified, registry, and non-registry interpreters; in subsection (c)(2)(A), added the language “except as provided in subsection (c)(2)(B) of this Rule,” and added language referring to the interpreter's skills and qualifications, to any potential conflicts or other ethical issues, and to the court permitting parties to participate in the inquiry; added a subsection (c)(2)(B) allowing the court to dispense with a certain inquiry if the interpreter is a court-employed staff interpreter; in the Committee note after subsection (c)(2)(B), deleted the references to promulgation by the Maryland Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Interpreters and to publication of the inquiry questions in a certain Report and added the word “included”; in subsection (c)(3)(A), deleted language referring to appointment by the court, to swearing or affirming under the penalty of perjury, and to subscribing an oath and added the language “take an oath”; added a new subsection (c)(3)(B) and a Committee note following it pertaining to oaths by court-employed staff interpreters; and made stylistic changes.
MD Rules, Rule 1-333, MD R GEN Rule 1-333
Current with amendments received through August 1, 2019.
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