Ohio Judges Reminded to Use Qualified Interpreters
Ohio judges on Tuesday were reminded about the court rules and laws for appointing qualified interpreters for people who don’t speak English or are deaf or hard of hearing.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor spoke during the second round of training for newly elected and appointed judges conducted by the Ohio Judicial College.
“Often, we hear of cases where parties bring friends or family members,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “Appointing friends and family to act as interpreters is not a reliable way to ensure effective and accurate interpretation. They are simply not qualified to act as interpreters.”
She also emphasized what Ohio law requires when it comes to appointing a qualified interpreter for any legal proceeding if the person has a hearing, speech, or other impairment or speaks a language other than English. Court rules also require courts to appoint a certified interpreter if one is readily available.
The Supreme Court has certified interpreters since 2011, and the current roster includes 61 people certified in six languages, including sign language. The court also provides local courts the use of telephonic interpretation for languages other than Spanish.
Chief Justice O’Connor noted that all judges help ensure equal protection by providing a setting where all litigants can understand proceedings and have their day in court.
The Supreme Court’s Language Services Program includes a complaint-resolution process to help courts meet compliance requirements.