| by Heather Duncan, Esq.

Last month we reviewed the rules regarding deposition interpreters. This month we are bringing you ten tips for taking an interpreted deposition.

  1. The intent to have an interpreter present should be included in the deposition notice and/or subpoena.

  2. The court reporter should be advised that an interpreter will be used prior to the deposition.

  3. It is important to make arrangements for your interpreter to be a court-certified interpreter in both the language and the specific dialect that you need.

  4. When planning for an interpreted deposition keep in mind that having an interpreter often doubles the time it takes to provide testimony.

  5. Before beginning questioning, make certain the court reporter swears in the interpreter with the following, or very similar language: Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will accurately translate from English into _____ and from  _____ into English to the best of your ability?   The court reporter will then ask the interpreter to have the witness raise their right hand and will administer the standard oath.

  6. The attorney and interpreter should speak only in the first person and have the interpreter do the same. In order to avoid questioning in the third person, the deposition questioning should proceed as much as possible as if the interpreter were not there.

  7. Keep in mind that it is the interpreter’s job to translate into English exactly what was said in the foreign language and at the same level of discourse as the speaker.

  8. If the interpreter adds commentary, for example if he says “he said he has four children but I think he means he has four grandchildren,” the attorney should interrupt the proceedings and ask the interpreter not to add opinions or corrections. It is the job of the attorney to make any clarifications to the record.

  9. If written documents will be introduced, it is best to have them translated prior to the deposition. Mark the original document, the translated document and the certification of translation as exhibits.

  10. Avoid having the witness speak in both English and through the interpreter. It creates a confusing record.

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