Often a situation will arise where we are instructed by a client whose first language is not English. It is important as your legal representative that we can assist you effectively.  Therefore, it is important we are aware of what issues can arise with interpretation and translation and how to mitigate them.

When arranging a translator and/or interpreter, it is of foremost important to confirm the correct language and dialect spoken by you. With information from the initial enquiry, we will arrange an interpreter for your first appointment. When the first appointment goes ahead with your solicitor, we will check with you to ensure that the correct interpreter has been retained as the same interpreter will most likely be used throughout the proceedings. The use of the same interpreter aids in continuity and trust. Understanding the proceedings is very important and therefore if at any point through the proceedings, you have any issues with reading translated documents or understanding the interpreters, we would like you to inform us as soon as possible so it can be resolved.

Family proceedings are private and therefore we would not be in a position to use your friends or family members to aid as an interpreter. Not only does this pose a risk to confidentiality, we also want you to feel able to speak to us about issues that others in your community may not be aware of.

It will be the responsibility of the Court to arrange court-appointed translators to attend hearings. However, your solicitor should follow up with the Court before the hearings to confirm arrangements have been made. The court-appointed interpreter’s role is to interpret for the court and what the parties are saying. We may wish to arrange for our own interpreter to attend hearings as well. The purpose of your own interpreter present is they interpret between you and your solicitor when they take your instructions.

The Court will make an order to ensure all documents during the proceedings are translated into your written language. You will be provided with these documents as soon as they become available.

Provided you are eligible for public funding (legal aid) you will not incur any costs for the use of interpreters and translators. All costs will met by either your public funding certificate, the local authority, or the Court.

Nikita Iles – Apprentice – Family Team