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Court translators can't always advance your case

Whether you are dealing with a dispute with another business or a contract issue with your employer, you grasp of the English language can be a factor in how the case turns out if you don't partner with someone who can provide the appropriate help. A recent report from PBS News discussed the impact of translation services on court proceedings, and for many involved, it wasn't always positive.

Having an interpreter, which is often provided by the court, seems like a great idea. Even if you speak English, if it is your second language, you might not be fluent in the legal language used in a court room. Even people who speak the language from birth often struggle with some of the concepts and terms presented in legal documents and court discussions.

A random translator provided by the court isn't always a strength for your case, though. According to the PBS report, many of these translators are not well-versed in legal concepts and language either, and they aren't always as fluent as you think in the language they are translating. One translator recounted stories to the PBS reporter of translation issues that could cause serious issues with a case's outcome.

One case, for example, revolved around a traffic violation that a man was admitting guilt to. The translator used a word meaning violation that had a different connotation in the man's language, however -- one that meant "rape." The man frantically shouted after hearing the translation that he didn't rape anyone.

Employment disputes can be complex even without translation issues. Working with a bilingual attorney helps you avoid translation issues and reduces your reliance on random translators.

Source: PBS, "How bad translation by court interpreters can turn misunderstanding into injustice," Rebecca Beitsch, Aug. 17, 2016

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