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Interpreting, Legal

  • By: Carla M. Mathers
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Legal interpreting is a very broad arena ranging from traditional court and law enforcement settings to less obvious contexts such as employment terminations and emergency rooms. Federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, mandate qualified interpreters in legal settings. This article addresses the qualifications for legal interpreters, the three functions that court interpreters perform, and the ethical and behavioral rules that make legal interpreting different from community interpreting. The profession of court interpreting has only recently refined its understanding of the role of the legal interpreter and has not done enough to assist the Deaf community with appreciating the differences.

Sign language interpreting in legal settings is a high-risk calling that justifiably gives most interpreters pause. At risk may be income, liberty, ...

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