Spanish Court Interpreting in the U.S.

Professional Spanish court interpretations in the U.S. can be a difficult and arduous task given the different variations of Spanish spoken in the U.S. While other languages may also have multiple dialects and accents, Spanish interpreters have an added difficulty not experienced by other language interpreters. In particular, they have to manage how other Spanish-speakers in the room perceive and react to their services. The U.S. has a large number of attorneys and judges that understand and speak Spanish. The level of Spanish proficiency of these legal professionals can vary greatly – from novice speakers to fully bilingual native speakers.

For this reason, the chance of having a language dispute arise during a legal proceeding is much higher for the Spanish language. Hence, Spanish interpreters need to be prepared to justify their use of words during the actual proceeding. Normally, disputes in language interpretations are handled after the fact based on the transcripts and live recordings of the legal proceeding. If you are hiring a Spanish interpreter, it is important to be aware that there may be challenges during the actual proceeding and ensure you hire only very highly qualified AND experienced Spanish interpreters. Experienced Spanish interpreters have been in these situations in the past and are able to defend themselves during the legal proceeding not allowing the distraction or pressure to affect their performance throughout the entire job assignment. Less experienced interpreters may get distracted or nervous when challenged aggressively by opposing counsel.

While you think that Spanish is an easier language to staff for interpretation projects, it is important to ensure your interpreters not only have solid language capabilities but also have the experience necessary to handle contentious situations during a live proceeding.