Yakima County District Court provides interpreter services, free of charge, to limited English proficient (LEP), deaf and hearing-impaired persons during court proceedings. If you need the assistance of a court certified or registered interpreter to address matters to prepare adequately for court (i.e. meeting with clients to discuss case, review documents in anticipation of the hearing etc.), you must make those arrangements yourself. The staff court certified interpreter or the contracted interpreters who are assigned to court proceedings will not be able to remove themselves from court to assist you in reviewing documents or meeting with clients. There are a number of resources available for you to access to acquire an interpreter:
Additionally, the Court is happy to share the contact information with the contract interpreters that we routinely use. If you would like more information about available resources please contact the interpreter coordinators.
Working with interpreters requires that you have an understanding of their role and function in the court system. Please review this informational document that will give you some background and guidance about court interpreters: Top 10 Suggestions for Attorney's Working with Court Interpreters.
Interpreter Services Coordinators
Yolanda Lopez, Court Certified Interpreter
Kami Dominguez, Office Supervisor
Language Assistance Plan
Washington State law secures the rights of deaf persons and of other persons who because of impairment of hearing or speech are unable to readily understand or communicate spoken English and who consequently cannot be fully protected in legal proceedings unless qualified interpreters are available to assist them.
Washington State law secures the rights of persons who because of a non-English speaking cultural background are unable to readily understand or communicate in English and who consequently cannot be fully protected in legal proceedings unless qualified interpreters are available to assist them.
You can learn more about the language services that are available in District Court by watching our Language Access Video:
Code of Professional Responsibility for Judiciary Interpreters
Per General Rule (GR) 11, the use of qualified interpreters is authorized in judicial proceedings involving hearing impaired or non-English speaking individuals.
The purpose of this Code is to establish and maintain high standards of conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of the adjudicative system.
Washington State Interpreter Commission
The Washington State Interpreter Commission serves as a policy making and advisory body to Washington Courts, including the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), concerning court interpreters and language assistance in general. The Commission sets policy for the courts and the Court Interpreter Program, which is responsible for interpreter certification, registration, testing, continuing education, training, and discipline. The Commission is also responsible for strategic planning and working with educational institutions and other interpreter program stakeholder groups to develop resources to support court interpreting in Washington.
How To Become a Court Interpreter
Being a credentialed (certified or registered) interpreter shows courts that the interpreters have demonstrated their ability and competency to interpret in a court setting. To become credentialed, the interpreter must:
- Pass a written exam
- Attend an orientation class
- Pass an oral exam in 3 modes of interpreting (to become Certified)
- Pass language proficiency interview (to become Registered)
- Attend a class on ethics and protocol
- Pass a criminal background check
- Take the interpreter oath
You will find additional information on becoming a Certified or Registered Court interpreter by going to the Washington Courts website.