How professional language assistance saves time, money and pain while helping your organization grow:
Click on each statement for greater detail.
Clear oral and written communication between attorneys and LEP (Limited English Proficient) clients about their cases
In my experience, clients who understand their cases are in a better position to conduct themselves properly at depositions and hearings and have more favorable outcomes. Not having proper translation/interpretation assistance can cause delays, unnecessary expense and even catastrophic situations such as the one described in the case study at the end of this section.
When you are representing the plaintiff, the last thing you want to have to do is call off a deposition because of an incompetent interpreter. Having a highly trained, professional interpreter ultimately costs less than rescheduling such a proceeding.
Clearly understandable signs help prevent accidents and other unfortunate incidents. They can also help prevent lawsuits. No matter what language your sign needs to be translated into, it must be as easily understandable as the sign in English.
Every year, people come to the US from all over the world to attend conferences and seminars. On one front, expert conference interpreters make it possible for attendees to fully understand the speaker at each session and make them more inclined to attend your organization's future events. On another, having professional interpreters available in the exhibit hall (or at a trade show) can lead to increased sales.
And the list goes on!
Case study: from slip and fall to possible prison sentence
A Spanish-speaking individual sued a company following a slip and fall incident. Attempts were made to mediate the case. However, the plaintiff's attorney did not bother to get a professional court-certified interpreter for the mediation. Rather, the attorney had a "bilingual" member of her client's family to serve as an interpreter at the mediation. Unfortunately, the family member was not fully fluent in Spanish, much less did she know how to interpret or translate, particularly in a legal setting.
The plaintiff claimed that she did not understand the proposed settlement terms discussed at the mediation, however, she had signed the related paperwork. Later on, she decided to back out of the settlement and wanted to take the matter to trial. Defense counsel filed a motion to enforce the settlement, and subsequently, her attorney stopped representing her.
The plaintiff appeared unrepresented at two separate hearings on the motion to enforce the settlement. However, as a courtesy to the court, defense counsel hired a colleague and me to interpret between the court, attorneys, and Spanish-speaking plaintiff*. When testifying, she stated that she did not understand her family member's "translation", and even declared that the latter did not speak good Spanish. To make matters worse, when asked if she remembered the content of the paperwork she had signed, she stated that she did not. So although her intention may not have been to perjure on the witness stand, in practice that is what she did, risking possible perjury charges.
Had there been a professional interpreter/translator at the mediation, everything that was discussed could have been clearly conveyed to the plaintiff, and a complete written translation of the settlement terms could have provided. Under those circumstances, it is much more likely that this matter could have settled at that time. The defendant could have avoided the hassle of filing the motion and attending the hearings, along with significant expense. The plaintiff would not have risked perjury charges and a possible prison sentence.
Considering the above, hiring a professional, court-certified interpreter when non-English litigants are involved can be of significant help in resolving a case.
*This occurred before the 2011 Department of Justice ruling which mandated state-paid court interpreters for all civil hearings in Colorado courts.