Interpreting for Justice: The Vital Role of Interpreters in Legal Settings


The role of interpreters cannot be overstated in the legal industry, as every word carries significance, and every nuance matters in the legal domain. Legal interpreters effectively communicate pieces of information from source to target language, ensuring that individuals have access to justice regardless of their language or cultural background. 

In this blog, we will discuss:

The challenges that legal interpreters face

Required skills for legal interpreters

The impact that legal interpreters have on the pursuit of justice

Solutions for some of the challenges

Challenges that Interpreters Face in the Legal Domain 

Legal proceedings differ from everyday communication as they occur in formal settings and involve terminology unfamiliar to people who do not speak the language fluently. Understanding the legal system can be a difficult task for non-native individuals due to their limited proficiency in court language. Therefore it gets challenging for interpreters to precisely convey the legal concepts to all the parties involved so that they can better understand their legal rights, responsibilities, and ongoing situation. Sometimes, interpreters also consider cultural differences and sensitivities to communicate information between the parties with different backgrounds effectively. 

Required Skills for Legal Interpreters

Multiple skills are required for legal interpreters to effectively perform their roles. A fundamental requirement is a thorough understanding of the legal terminology and procedures in both the source and target language. Legal interpreters must engage themselves in ongoing training and professional development programs to stay updated with the latest changes in the legal domain. Furthermore, legal interpreters must possess strong communication skills to effectively communicate information in legal settings. These skills include actively listening articulateness, and the ability to precisely communicate complex ideas. Moreover, interpreters in the legal domain are supposed to maintain justice and privacy, complying with the ethical standards to protect the integrity of the legal process. 

The Impact that Legal Interpreters have on the Pursuit of Justice

In legal settings, interpreters can play a crucial role in providing justice to the involved parties as they uphold the principles of equality before the law. Individuals with limited proficiency in court language would not be able to understand the implications of legal decisions as they cannot participate effectively without the help of a professional legal interpreter. Legal interpreters help linguistic minorities exercise their legal rights effectively, ensuring that they have a voice in the justice system. Consequently, legal interpreters overcome linguistic barriers and make justice accessible for all. 

Solutions to Challenges Faced by Legal Interpreters 

Along with the allure of benefits and fame come a unique set of challenges to overcome. Legal interpreters have become an indispensable part of the legal industry, but various challenges accompany their role. Qualified interpreters are very limited in the industry, and if you want an interpreter for a scarce language then this task becomes a problem in itself. Furthermore, some interpreters, due to lack of experience and practice, need help in precisely understanding and communicating complex legal matters. 

To overcome these challenges, the collaborators must invest in interpreter training programs to improve the interpreting skills of legal interpreters and promote diversity within the interpreter community. Legal professionals, interpreters, and policymakers must unite to fulfill the needs of linguistically diverse individuals and they must ensure that justice remains accessible to all individuals without any impartiality and regardless of the language barriers.

Case Studies: Illustrating the Impact of Interpreters on Different Legal Settings

Consider the following examples for a better understanding of the impact that interpreters have on different legal settings. 

Immigration cases 

Legal interpreters are vital in immigration courts as they help individuals communicate effectively while seeking asylum or immigration status. They help them put their point across to the arbitrators in a professional way. Interpreters make sure that the concerned persons understand their rights completely, communicate professionally, and understand the legal implications of the decisions affecting their immigration status.  

Judicial trials

Legal interpreters, in criminal trials, help witnesses, and victims defend themselves in a better way and communicate effectively with the legal counsel. Interpreters here ensure that the victims understand the charges against them, present their points professionally, and provide proof accurately if necessary. 

Civil Law cases

In case of disputes, interpreters assist all the parties involved in civil litigation. Their sole purpose is to overcome the language gaps so that the involved parties can understand the proceedings better and present their case more effectively. 

Final Thought!

We can conclude the above discussion with the fact that interpreters facilitate communication and access to justice in legal settings. Their expertise ensures that the individuals involved in the legal procedures have a say in the process and exercise their rights effectively. In the current interconnected world, the need for professional interpreters will continue to grow over time. Therefore the best way to uphold the principles of justice and equality for all members of society is to invest in the interpreters’ training and development programs. 

AGATO Translation takes pride in its team of professional interpreters who assist us in providing exceptional legal translation and interpretation services. Connect with us today to experience the benefits of professional translation services.