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The problem with using an interpreter during a legal issue

| Jun 15, 2021 | Immigration |

Maybe your spouse just filed for divorce. Perhaps you recently got arrested and must defend against criminal charges. When you have a legal matter that requires your attention, a language barrier can be a big problem. You have the right to translation in the court, but is using a translator to communicate with your own lawyer the best arrangement?

There are certainly many different translation services available, ranging from professional interpreters to apps on your phone. Outsourced translation can put you at a disadvantage when handling legal matters. There are at least three concerns about using an individual or program to translate information about a legal issue.

An interpreter or app may not know jargon or slang

An individual who works as an interpreter and a program developed to translate between languages will have limitations. They may not recognize specialized legal terms or may translate them improperly. The same could be true of slang words or popular aphorisms. There is a risk of mistranslation affecting the decisions you make or the outcome in your case.

An individual may modify or change what the other party says

When you partner with an individual for interpretation, they may gloss over things that they don’t think are important or omit words and even whole sentences from their translation. Neither party will necessarily know about that issue, but miscommunication can result from this kind of situation.

An interpreter or app will mean less privacy

Whether you are responding to a divorce filing or criminal charges, you probably want to limit who knows the details of your circumstances. An individual serving as an interpreter means one more person who knows about your legal matters. Using an app or program could leave your information vulnerable to hacking or even recording in apps that use live support for assistance with basic machine translation.

Partnering with an attorney who is bilingual is a much better option. It protects your privacy and minimizes the risk from this communication. A lawyer who speaks your language can make sure that they explain any terms you don’t understand and won’t omit any part of the necessary information that they provide to you.

Finding a lawyer that you can communicate with directly even if English is not your primary language can help you better handle pending legal issues.