11 Dec So, can I interpret at a deposition or not?
– by Giovanna Lester ©2015
That question has been whirling around the minds of many Florida interpreters since Rule 2.565 went into full effect on October 1, 2015. Among other things, Rule 2.565 defines new professional designations for interpreters (see definitions below) and who is allowed to interpret in legal and quasi-legal settings- such as a deposition. I did some research, asked a few questions and found a few answers that I share here with you.
Not all languages are affected by the restrictions created by the new rule. The problem becomes evident with languages without any or with a small number of professionals who meet the standards set by the Florida Supreme Court. However, accommodations have been made to safeguard the rights of limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals who are speakers of those affected languages and find themselves in need of interpreting services in legal and quasi-legal settings.
A special tool has been built into the new Rule addressing that issue and establishing guidelines for retaining interpreters who do not meet the new designations. There are exceptional circumstances and means that allow attorneys and self-represented litigants to retain professionals who do not fall under the State’s designations for court as well as court-related proceedings—provided a certified, provisionally approved, language skilled, or otherwise registered interpreter is not available.
That tool is the Verified Written Declaration Under Rule 2.565, and item 6 of that document reads:
6. I have conducted a diligent search for a court interpreter who is certified, language skilled, provisionally approved, or otherwise registered with the OSCA. No such interpreter is available, either in person or via remote technology, despite my efforts to coordinate scheduling.
The completed form is to be emailed to Rule2.565Declarations@flcourts.org, filed and a copy of same is to be distributed to all other parties, including the interpreter.
Extrapolating from the information contained on the Florida Courts’ site, it would make sense that agencies should be expected to inform their clients that despite the agency’s best efforts no professionals meeting State of Florida guidelines were found, provide the names of those they tried to contact, inform the qualifications of the individual they were able to secure, and recommend the filling of the Verified Written Declaration to ensure compliance.
Here are the definitions we professional interpreters, language services agencies, court reporting agencies, lawyers and LEP individuals should guide ourselves by:
(a) Court Interpreter. Any person providing spoken language court interpreting services during a court or court-related proceeding, except persons performing such services without remuneration on behalf of indigent persons in circumstances not requiring appointment of a court interpreter.
(b) Certified Court Interpreter. An interpreter who has completed all requirements for certification in accordance with these rules and holds a valid certificate issued by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(c) Language Skilled. A designation reserved for interpreters who have completed all requirements in accordance with these rules, but who are seeking certification in a spoken language for which there is no state-certifying examination, and hold a valid certificate issued by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(d) Provisionally Approved. A designation reserved for interpreters of spoken languages for which a state-certifying examination is available, who, although not yet certified, have passed the oral performance exam at a lesser qualifying prescribed level and hold a valid certificate issued by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(e) Duly Qualified Interpreter. An interpreter who is certified or language skilled, or, if a certified or language skilled interpreter is unavailable, a provisionally approved interpreter, as these terms are defined under subdivisions (b) through (d) above.
(h) Court-Related Proceeding. Any event, including, but not limited to, a deposition, mediation, arbitration, or examination, which occurs or could be made to occur as a result of a court order, subpoena, or general law, and for which the primary purpose is the communication or exchange of information related to a claim or defense in or the settlement of a pending or impending court case. However, a law enforcement investigation which does not yet involve the participation of the prosecuting authority shall not be considered a court-related proceeding.
The answer to the title question, then, is Yes, but…
Rule 2.565 (pg 154): http://www.floridabar.org/TFB/TFBResources.nsf/Attachments/F854D695BA7136B085257316005E7DE7/$FILE/Judicial.pdf
Revised Opinion: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2015/sc14-1055_Revised_Opinion.pdf
Verified Written Declaration form: http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-services/court-interpreting/verified-written-declaration.stml
Currently registered professionals in 6 languages*: http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/court-services/court-interpreting/find-an-interpreter.stml
* as of the original date of publication.
9 thoughts on “So, can I interpret at a deposition or not?”
Well said, Gio. And a very opportune post, too. Kudos to you.
There is a lot going on around here surrounding this issue. Glad I can shed some light.
Thanks a million. The State capital told me that Federally Certified interpreters were not automatically accepted, only exempt from the oral exam, but federal authorities told me that all Federally Certified interpreters can work in State courts. Do you have any addiitonal information? Greatly appreciate your efforts, abracos….
Hi Georganne! I will get back to you on that. I did read something about it, but I’d rather not quote from memory.
Georganne, the language of both Rule 2560 [Appointment of Spoken Language Court Interpreter for Non-English Speaking or Limited-English-Proficiency Persons] and Rule 2565 [Retention of Spoken Language Court Interpreter for Non-English Speaking or Limited-English-Proficiency by Attorneys or Self-Represented Litigants] mention [professionals] registered with the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
Rule 2560 goes into details: “No appointment, including appointment of interpreters available via remote technology, shall be made under this subdivision unless the presiding judge, magistrate, or hearing officer finds the
proposed interpreter is competent to interpret in the proceedings. This finding must be made on the record based, not only on the unavailability of an interpreter otherwise qualified in a particular language, but also on specific exigent circumstances given the demands of the case and the interpreter’s sworn assertion he or she is able, either in direct or relay/intermediary interpretation, to communicate effectively in the language in which interpreter services are required. An appointment under this subdivision shall excuse an interpreter so appointed from the registration requirements under the Rules for Certification and Regulation of Spoken Language Court Interpreters, but only for the delivery of the specific services for which the interpreter is appointed.”
>> So, their interpretation of Court Interpreter hos to do with one’s name being on the Registry. BUT…
I found this on the document Rules for Certification and Regulation of Spoken Language Court Interpreters:
Rule 14.210. Waiver of Examination Requirement:
(a) Federal Certification. Upon presentation of proof satisfactory to the board, the oral performance examination requirement shall be waived for anyone holding a federal courts certificate which is issued by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and whose name appears on the registry of federally certified interpreters. No other component of certification is waived by this rule.
(b) Reciprocity. Upon presentation of proof satisfactory to the board, the
examination requirement shall be waived for anyone who has passed an equivalent examination in another state, if in accordance with board-approved requisites.
Added June 29, 2006, effective July 1, 2006 (933 So. 2d 504); amended March 27, 2014, effective May 1, 2014 (136 So. 3d 584).
In summary, as I understand it, federally certified interpreters whose names appear in the AOUSC registry are exempt from the oral portion of the examination, but “no other component of certification is waived by this rule.” PLUS reciprocity is at the state level only.
Hope this helps.
I’m glad that the state of Florida has chosen the sensible route of mandating the use of duly qualified court interpreters proviso they’re reasonably available, by way of a rule of court and not (necessarily) via specific legislation, which all too often is drafted by non-expert outsiders making things worse than they were before.
This is low hanging fruit, people. And it’s not rocket science. Campaign before your local supreme court’s administrative office of the courts to adopt similar regulation via a rule of court.
I think this is a sensible approach by Florida.
Many locals aren’t sure yet. Many courts are not in compliance and interpreters feel they are being penalized by becoming certified. It is still a process in development.
Many judges still do not know what interpreters are for, lawyers confuse them with their secretaries. There is still a lot of education to take place before these rules can be fully implemented.
We are hoping they will be discussing group interpreting next.