The Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted a new rule that would require courts to hire a certified foreign language or sign language interpreter, when available, to ensure the “meaningful participation” of deaf and limited English proficient individuals in court proceedings. The rule takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Rule 88 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio also requires courts to “use all reasonable efforts” to avoid the appointment of interpreters who may have a conflict of interest.
The Supreme Court began certifying court interpreters last year when related amendments became effective Jan. 1, 2010. The first group of court interpreters were certified on Feb. 1, 2011.
The court interpreter rules are designed to provide the most qualified interpreters available given the number of possible languages that may appear in the state court system. Ohio courts accommodate approximately 80 languages and handle more than 25,000 cases per year that require a court interpreter.