Today I was interpreting during a plea hearing. The plea agreement had been previously sight-translated to the defendant by a different interpreter. During today's hearing, the commissioner pointed out that the previous interpreter had struck the phrase "which the defendant understands" from the interpreter's attestation. The commissioner asked defense counsel "Do you know why the interpreter did that?" Defense counsel responded, "Your honor, she said something about not being able to speak to someone else's understanding of the language, although the defendant obviously understands Spanish, so I don't really know why." The commissioner then directed the defense attorney to state the defendant's first language. Question: Would it be appropriate for me to send an email to the bailiff saying something like "This came up yesterday, and I thought the Court might be interested in knowing that interpreters are explicitly instructed to strike such verbiage, per the Standards of Practice and Ethics for Washington State Judiciary Interpreters" and include the citation and the link to the document?
Your colleague correctly crossed out the statement "which the defendant understands" from the interpreter declaration. Standards of Practice and Ethics, Signing Declarations states: ‘It is not the interpreter’s role to attest to any party’s linguistic abilities or state of mind. Interpreters may attest only to what they are qualified to do and what they did.
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