Monday, July 28, 2014

Interpreters in Ohio courts: Rules and resources

There are specific rules in place regarding the use of interpreters in Ohio courts and many resources available to ensure compliance with them. On July 18, 2011 the Supreme Court of Ohio adopted Rule 88 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts, which requires courts to use certified foreign and sign language interpreters for court proceedings when available. This rule became effective January 1, 2013. Effective July 1, 2014 the Court amended Rules 80-88 and added Appendix J to provide more detailed information about language and hearing access in Ohio courts.

The Supreme Court of Ohio's Language Services Program offers resources and technical assistance for issues related to access to Ohio’s court system for limited English proficient (LEP), deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The program helps courts, attorneys and interpreters to comply with the Rules of Superintendence and works to facilitate access to the courts for individuals who need these services. Some of their resources include materials such as “Working with Foreign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom: A Benchcard for Judges,” a training video on understanding Rule 88, and PDFs of many important court forms, often translated into multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. These resources are available to everyone through the Language Services Program page on the Ohio Supreme Court’s website.

The site also contains information on legal obligations related to working with LEP, deaf and hard of hearing individuals and resources for interpreters who may wish to work with the courts. The Advisory Committee on Interpreter Services provides advice to the Ohio Supreme Court with regard to issues of language access through this program. 

For cases which may require interpreters in Hamilton County Municipal and Common Pleas Courts see this link for information about arranging these services. For these services in Hamilton County Court of Domestic Relations see Local Rule 1.27.

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