If you are involved in a proceeding for a Criminal, Traffic, Juvenile, Family, Unlawful Detainer or Small Claims hearing the Court will supply an interpreter for court proceedings. You should notify a Court employee of your need for an interpreter as soon as possible. The Court has Spanish speaking interpreter employees, but must contact an interpreter qualified to interpret other languages from other courts and/or other counties. It is helpful to have several days to contact qualified interpreters.
If you are involved in a Civil hearing other than Unlawful Detainer or Small Claims, the Court will not provide you with an interpreter. It is your responsibility to supply an interpreter for the Court proceeding. You may ask a friend or relative to assist you or you may hire an independent contractor interpreter to assist you. The interpreter must be over the age of 18 years.
Keep in mind that even though someone you know speaks both English and your first langugage it does not mean he or she would be a good interpreter. A court interpreter needs to be familiar with legal terms and concepts in both English and your first language. The interpreter must be able to listen to the other parties in the action and interpret to you at the same time.
For more specific information about the California Court Interpreting Program, please contact Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Courts, http://www.courts.ca.gov/programs-interpreters.htm or call (415) 865-7530.