26 Jul

Back on the tightrope again and a shout out to Judge Peeples. Blondin wouldn’t dream of crossing the Niagara Gorge without a pole. Interpreters reach for a code of ethics when asked to do something outside of the job’s parameters. Today’s PeepleSpeak addresses what to do when you’re not sure.

I dread hearing these words: “Mr. Interpreter, can you …?” I’m not talking about running for coffee and cheese blintzes from Katzinger’s, but “Madame Interpreter, can you escort Mrs. Nahm to the Public Defender’s Office?” What would you do? Let me know your suggestions.

Kevin Mercado, OH State Certified Court Interpreter of Hamilton County Courts, presents a simple solution: “I’d be happy to meet Mrs. Nahm at the Public Defender’s Office.” Interpreters are not responsible once a LEP (Limited English Proficient) person leaves the courtroom. This doesn’t meet we can’t serve, but need to outline what is proper and not.

Again let’s get back to our “pole” that helps keep our balance on the wire. Canon 2 of the NAJIT Code of Ethics comes into play: “Impartiality and Conflicts of Interest: Court interpreters and translators are to remain impartial and neutral in proceedings where they serve, and must maintain the appearance of impartiality and neutrality, avoiding unnecessary contact with the parties.”

Just remember the person you interpret for is not your friend. Don’t stick around to chat about who serves the best kimchi in Franklin County. We interpreters are visible to all and strive to remain neutral. Thanks for the tip, Kevin.

Good words to you.

National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities http://www.najit.org.


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