STAFF COURT INTERPRETERS

          SACRAMENTO                                                                  FRESNO

            Ms. Yolanda Riley-Portal                                           Ms. Rebecca Rubenstein

               Phone:             916-930-4221                                      Phone:             559-499-5611

             Cell Phone:      916-606-4843                                     Cell Phone:      559-476-0211

                  Email:  yriley-portal@caed.uscourts.gov                    Email:  brubenstein@caed.uscourts.gov

When an interpreter has appeared for a defendant or defense witness in an action, Pursuant to Local Rule 403, Court Interpreter Services In Criminal Actions (below), all defense counsel who have a defendant or defense witness that requires interpreter services must:

1.   Notify the staff interpreters promptly, but no later than one week prior to a scheduled hearing (for languages other than Spanish) and three court days before a Spanish interpreter is required. Notification shall include the language and dialect required.

2.   Timely notify the staff court interpreter if a scheduled court proceeding is canceled or rescheduled, or if the defendant or defense witness will not be appearing, to cancel or reschedule interpreter arrangements.

NOTE:  Failure to notify the staff court interpreters of the need for an interpreter or of a cancelled or rescheduled hearing may result in an order directing defense counsel to pay the cost of interpreter services.

RULE 403 (Fed. R. Crim. P. 5)

COURT INTERPRETER SERVICES IN CRIMINAL ACTIONS

            (a)       Courtroom Proceedings.  Regardless of the presence of a private interpreter, only official, judicially-designated interpreters may interpret official courtroom proceedings in criminal actions, except as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1827(f)(1).

            (b)       Notice of Need for Interpreter ServicesDefense counsel in criminal actions shall promptly determine whether they will need interpreter services for any defendants or defense witnesses at future court proceedings and shall timely notify the court staff interpreter, and/or the courtroom deputy clerk for the Judge or Magistrate Judge assigned to hear the action, that an interpreter is needed.  It may take up to one week to arrange for interpreter services in languages other than Spanish, and three court days for Spanish interpreter services.  Notification of the need for interpreter services should include identification of the language required, any dialect, and any additional information that could assist the court staff interpreter.  If a scheduled court proceeding is canceled or rescheduled, counsel shall promptly notify the staff interpreter and/or courtroom deputy to cancel or reschedule any accompanying interpreter arrangements.  As to interpreters for Government witnesses, see 28 U.S.C. § 1827.

            (c)       Staff Interpreter.  Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1827(c), the Court employs a staff interpreter in both Sacramento and Fresno, who is responsible for securing the services of qualified interpreters.  The staff interpreter can be reached through the Clerk.

           (d)        Sanctions. Unjustified failure to notify the staff court interpreters of the need for an interpreter or of a cancelled or rescheduled hearing may result in sanctions, including an order directing counsel for the party, or counsel calling a witness, requiring the interpreter to pay the cost of interpreter services.


INTERPRETER/HEARING IMPAIRED SYSTEMS

Each courtroom is equipped with interpreter and hearing impaired systems. The systems use infrared technology which transmits sound to headset users. By selecting channel "1", a headset user hears the court interpreted proceedings. By selecting channel "2", a headset user hears a sound-enhanced version of all court proceedings.


FOR ATTORNEYS

The interpreter services department of the United States District Court, Eastern District of California provides interpreter and translation service for the court and for other court-related agencies such as the pretrial services office and U.S. probation office. For a detailed description of which proceedings qualify for appointed interpreters, please refer to sections (a) and (j) of the Court Interpreters Act.

For cases that do not qualify for appointed interpreters, please refer to the court's on-line local roster or other sources for names and telephone numbers of interpreters. You may also contact interpreter services at 916-930-4221 in Sacramento or 559-499-5611 in Fresno for additional information.

While the United States attorney's office secures interpreters for prosecution witnesses, defense counsel should contact, contract, and pay for interpreters when their services are needed for attorney/client meetings away from the courtroom. The court's Local Roster of interpreters and other resources are available on the court's Internet homepage for review by other federal agencies, law firms and the public at large. (See links under "Find an Interpreter", below.)

Click here to view the California Judicial Council’s listing of interpreters.


WITNESS INTERPRETERS

When interpreters are needed for prosecution witnesses, the United States attorney's office secures contract interpreters as needed. When defense witnesses need interpreters, defense counsel should notify the Interpreter Services Office. For a detailed description of which proceedings qualify for appointed interpreters, please refer to sections (a) and (j) of the Court Interpreters Act.  As with any interpreter requests, interpreter services has to be notified of any changes, continuances, or cancellations as soon as possible in order to avoid late-cancellation situations. If a witness interpreter appears but is not used, that interpreter is entitled to payment:

Volume 5, Chapter 4 of the Guide to Judiciary Policy, 7.3 Cancellation Fees: (......) If the contract court interpreter is given notice of the cancellation less than 24 hours before the scheduled proceeding or time of departure from residence if travel is authorized, not counting weekends or federal holidays, the court will compensate the interpreter with a cancellation fee. (......)


FIND AN INTERPRETER

For interpreter assistance during attorney-client meetings, or when appointed interpreters are not indicated, counsel may refer to the links below.

Click here to view interpreter roster for CAED Sacramento Division: Interpreter Roster.

Disclaimer: This is the roster of all interpreters used locally by the District Court in Sacramento.
This is not the list of certified interpreters pursuant to 28 USC § 1827. Only interpreters certified by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., as Spanish, Haitian Creole or Navajo interpreters can be considered “certified”, regardless of any state certification anyone else may hold in any language.  Please note that the certification levels indicated for each interpreter are self-reported, except in the case of AO-certified interpreters. Users should verify an interpreter's credentials as needed.

The following abbreviations are used in the court's Local Roster to indicate various certifications held by the interpreters:

AO certified: the interpreter is certified by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Certification is currently available for Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Navajo.

CA certified: the interpreter is certified by the Judicial Council of the State of California. Certification is currently available for Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

CA registered: the interpreter has passed the Judicial Council Court Interpreters Program English fluency exam, offered to interpreters of languages where there is currently no certification examination available.

RID certified: the Sign language interpreter holds a certificate in one or more levels of proficiency evaluated by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Click here to view the Local Roster of Interpreters.
Click here to view the California Judicial Council's listing of interpreters.


FOR INTERPRETERS

Thinking of becoming an interpreter? The first requirement is near-native fluency in English and one other language. To find out more about the interpreting profession, visit the California Judicial Council's website at  www.courts.ca.gov/programs for a comprehensive introduction to court interpreting in California.

For purposes of the United States District Court, the Court Interpreters Act of 1978 (PL 95-539) requires the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to prescribe, determine, and certify the qualifications of persons who serve as interpreters in federal courts, when the Director considers such certification to be merited. Certification testing programs have been developed and administered for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole.

Spanish is the language in highest demand in the federal courts, with Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Cantonese, Armenian, Russian, and as runners-up at this court. In all, around 50 different languages are provided by California Eastern District each

Guidelines for Qualifying Court Interpreters

AO (Administrative Office of the Unites States Courts) Certified Interpreters:
An interpreter who has successfully completed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE) for a language in which an examination is available. Certification testing programs have been developed and administered for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole.

Otherwise Qualified Interpreters

When a certified interpreter is not reasonably available, the court may use an "otherwise qualified interpreter" (28 U.S.C. §1827(b)(2)). Otherwise qualified interpreters consist of the following two categories:

•    professionally qualified interpreters
•    language-skilled/ad hoc interpreters
•    Professionally Qualified Interpreters:

The category of professionally qualified interpreters applies only to languages other than Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole. Credentials for professionally qualified interpreters require sufficient documentation and authentication, and must meet the criteria in one of the following:

Passed the State Department conference or seminar interpreter test in a language pair that includes English and the target language. The State Department's escort interpreter test is not accepted as qualifying.

Passed the interpreter test of the United Nations in a language pair that includes English and the target language.

Is a current member in good standing of:
       
The Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence (AIIC); or

The American Association of Language Specialists (TAALS).

The language pair of the membership qualification must be English and the target language.


For sign language interpreters, someone who holds the Specialist Certificate:
Legal (SC:L) of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).


Language Skilled/ad-hoc Interpreters
An interpreter who does not qualify as a professionally qualified interpreter, but who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court the ability to interpret court proceedings from English to a designated language and from that language into English, will be classified as a language skilled/ad-hoc interpreter, and may be placed on the court's local roster and included on the Director's master list as a "language skilled/ad-hoc interpreter."

The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE)

A certified interpreter has successfully passed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE). Certification testing programs have been developed and administered for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole. The FCICE is a criterion-referenced performance examination (28U.S.C. §1827(b)(1)) developed and administered under the supervision of the AO District Court Administration Division.

Information on the certification program is available from the Court Interpreter Program page on the judiciary's public website.

Professional Organizations for Interpreters and Translators

American Translators Association: www.atanet.org
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators: www.najit.org
National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf: www.rid.org
California Court Interpreters Association: www.ccia.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is a certified interpreter?
A: A certified interpreter is an individual who has passed an interpreter certification exam, usually mandated by legislation.

Q: Which languages are federally certified?
A: Federal certification is available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Navajo.

Q: If there is no federal certification in languages other than Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Navajo, who determines the qualifications of interpreters of languages other than those three?
A: It is up to the court to determine the qualifications of interpreters of languages where there is no federal certification available. New interpreters are screened by the manager of interpreter services and given an orientation session and relevant materials prior to being included on the court's local roster. Interpreter performance is periodically reviewed by the manager.

Q: Who pays for the services of an interpreter in federal court?
A: In all judicial proceedings instituted by the United States that require the appointment of an interpreter, the cost of the court appointed interpreter will be paid by the United States from appropriations available to the judiciary, except that the United States attorney is responsible for securing the services of such interpreters for governmental witnesses. For a detailed description of which proceedings qualify for appointed interpreters, please refer to sections (a) and (j) of the Court Interpreters Act. When defense counsel need the services of an interpreter away from the courthouse, they should make arrangements to contact, contract, and pay the interpreter.

Q: When does a case qualify for a court-appointed interpreter?
A: Spoken language interpreters may be appointed only for defendants (or defense witnesses) in proceedings instituted by the United States. Interpreter services for all other proceedings must be provided and paid for by the parties to the case.

Q: How does an attorney, in a civil case not instituted by the United States, go about finding an interpreter?
A: Attorneys may refer to the links below, starting with the paragraph entitled, "FIND AN INTERPRETER"

Q: What about persons who are deaf or hearing impaired?
A: Pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996, courts are required to provide reasonable accommodations to persons with communications disabilities. All participants in judicial proceedings who are deaf or hearing impaired are entitled to court-appointed interpreters or listening-assisted devices.