Occasionally it is necessary for court officials to bring in language interpreters and translators into legal depositions. This most commonly occurs when the person being deposed either does not speak English or speaks very limited English as a second language and is more comfortable speaking in their native language.
If you are called in to serve as an interpreter for a legal deposition in Phoenix, AZ, here are some tips that can help you get through it smoothly:
- Prepare: Before you head to the courtroom (or wherever the deposition is taking place), make sure you take some time to learn all the relevant and important facts of the case and the various points of law at issue. You should also learn the law firms, the parties involved, exhibit numbers and amounts. If you’re using sign language, you should choose the symbols you’ll use for the names ahead of time.
- Be as literal as possible: It can be very difficult to interpret or translate on the fly, because you have to both listen to everything that’s happening and then react accurately. As much as possible, try to interpret or translate exactly what’s being said in the deposition. There are going to be circumstances where you have to reformulate, but you should only do this if there’s absolutely no other alternative. This is the toughest part of the job, and it takes a lot of practice to be able to perform accurately in such an important and high-pressure setting.
- Do not go beyond your job description: Your job is merely to be an interpreter—you should never, for example, try to answer questions made to you by the witness, or talk to them during the hearing or break times. You are simply there to interpret and translate what’s being said. If the witness asks you a question, merely state that “the witness is asking me if _________” rather than answering the question. Leave the answers up to the people who are there to speak to and question the witness.
- Ask speakers to repeat when necessary: Obviously you don’t want to have to interrupt the flow of the deposition—you should try to keep interruptions to a minimum. That being said, there are going to be some times when you may need the speaker to repeat themselves. This is especially true with names and other proper nouns—it’s important to hear what they’re saying accurately so you can interpret and translate as accurately as possible.
- Expect to be made a scapegoat: It’s an unfortunate part of the reality of being an interpreter or translator, but it does happen from time to time. Witnesses might try to correct you if they speak some English, or some misunderstandings might get blamed on “bad interpretation.” Do your job professionally and to the best of your abilities, and try not to let these scenarios prevent you from being a professional.
For more information about legal deposition services in Phoenix, AZ, contact the team at Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC today.
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