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Immigrants who don’t speak English have a right to an interpreter

The language barrier is one of the most difficult challenges for non-English speaking immigrants in Miami to overcome. This is especially true when immigrants are involved in legal processes, but according to Cornell University of Law’s Legal Information Institute, those who don’t understand English well have the right to an interpreter in court.

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, those with language difficulties are able to gain access to a court-certified interpreter as a result of the Court Interpreters Act. A qualified interpreter with courtroom experience has different skills and responsibilities from an interpreter who assists non-English speakers in ordinary situations.

These skills include the ability to help immigrants understand the complex terminology and procedures that are normal factors in every court process, as well as providing regular language translation. For example, if an immigrant has been brought into a courtroom for a criminal act, the interpreter can provide explanations of how the criminal justice system works, the legal process of submitting evidence and what a jury does. If the matter is a civil one, the interpreter may help the immigrant understand legal terms such as breach of contract and negligence, and can define what a court brief will entail and what the state’s law says.

With access to a qualified interpreter, immigrants should be able to more fully comprehend the American judicial system processes. This gives them the same footing as their English-speaking counterparts and provides them with the opportunity to determine what the right options and choices for their situation are.

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