The first time working with an Interpreter in the court can be challenging, in order to simplify the process for judges, barristers and other court staff we created this short instructional video.

In the video we address misconceptions regarding the work conducted by our Interpreters and provide some industry tips for how to work with Interpreters efficiently.



Training Summary

Three types of Court Interpreting.

1) Consecutive Interpreting: The Interpreter waits for the speaker to finish their sentence, then relays the speaker’s word in the target language.

2) Simultaneous Interpreting: The Interpreter listens to the speaker’s words and relays them in the target language at almost the same time.

3) Sign Language Interpreting: Sign language interpreting is always simultaneous.

Interpreter Conduct.

Interpreters are obliged to adhere to strict guidelines regarding to what scenarios they’re qualified to provide services and how they conduct themselves during an appointment. Understanding these guidelines will provide insight into how to work effectively in partnership:

  • Interpreters should only accept work that they have the competence linguistically and in terms of the specialist knowledge and skill
  • Interpreters have to act impartially at all times
  • Interpreters interpret truly and faithfully without adding, omitting or changing anything
  • Interpreters should disclose any difficulties encountered with dialects or technical terms immediately
  • Interpreters cannot enter into discussion, give advice or
    express opinions or reactions to any of the parties
  • Interpreters need to ensure that necessary conditions for interpreting are provided, including being seated where
    they can see and be heard clearly etc. if this is not the case
    they have a responsibility to make it known
  • Interpreters are asked to intervene if:
    • They need to ask for clarification
    • They need to point out that one party has not understood something that has been assumed by the other party
    • To point out a missed cultural reference or inference
    • To advise on something that is impairing their ability to interpret
  • Interpreters should disclose if they know the person they are interpreting for or if they have already been involved with a case
Working Tips.
  • It’s important that the Interpreter can hear all parties clearly. They will need to interpret for everyone that speaks to the alternative language speaker.
    • If they cannot hear what is being said clearly, they have to interrupt the flow to ask for a repetition.
    • Be mindful of background noise, distance from the speaker and potential physical obstacles that could impair their ability i.e. glass partitions.
  • Prior to starting a session; It is always important to determine that the correct language Interpreter has been requested by asking the alternative language speaker a few simple questions that the Interpreter may relay.
  • Speak directly to the alternative language speaker as you would in a normal conversation.
  • Maintain eye contact with the alternative language speaker
  • Use simple language and avoid acronyms.
  • Allow pauses in your speech for the Interpreter to deduce meaning from your sentence and allow them time to relay.
  • Be mindful that it can take longer to complete a sentence or idea in the target language than English.
  • Allow time for the interpreter to ask questioned where required. They are experienced in their role, but technical language or legal terminology may need to be simplified.
Booking Duration & Time-sheets
  • If it is likely you will require the Interpreter for a short time after the session it is important to communicate this to the Interpreter as early as possible, as they may be required at an appointment elsewhere.
  • Always ensure that the Interpreter has had their time-sheet signed at the time. This will limit the possibility of disputes over time spent during the billing process.

Larry Gould, chief executive of thebigword, said: “Interpreters are highly skilled and trained and carry out complex and challenging work to a very high standard in the justice system.

“But they cannot do this alone and sometimes support and understanding is needed from barristers, solicitors and other professionals involved in the cases.

“We hope our new training programme will provide invaluable practical advice for legal professionals to get the best out of the interpreters they are working with, whether it is face to face, on video or by telephone.

“We are making this investment to ensure that justice is supported in the most effective way.”