Language Access: Interpreters and Translators
The Vermont Judiciary is committed to ensuring that people who have a limited ability to speak, read, write, or understand English as well as people who are Deaf or hearing impaired have meaningful access to the Judiciary’s programs and services.
Many people in Vermont do not speak English. Others have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. Still others are Deaf or hard of hearing. All of these people have a right to access the programs and services of the Vermont courts. This right also applies to the programs and services of organizations receiving funding from the Judiciary.
The Judiciary provides interpreting and translating services at no cost. An interpreter converts spoken words or words conveyed in sign language from one language to a different language. A translator converts text written in one language to text written in another language.
If you are a party to or witness in a court proceeding or are the parent of a minor involved in a juvenile action and you believe you need an interpreter or translator, please contact staff at your local court, or you may file a written request with the judge in your case.
The Judiciary's translation and interpretation work is detailed in the Language Access Plan and Language Access Operations Manual:
Court Proceedings That Qualify for Interpreting Services
Please refer to Section II. A. "Definition of Terms" of the Language Access Operations Manual.
Court Proceedings That Do Not Qualify for Interpreting Services
Examples of proceedings that are not covered by the Judiciary's policy include:
- Discussions between lawyers and their clients
- Interrogations conducted as part of a police investigation
- Programs ordered as a condition of probation or parole
- Settlement discussions
Please keep in mind that other individuals or entities might be required to provide interpreting or translation services for these proceedings.
For more information about the Judiciary's Language Access Program and services, please see the Vermont Judiciary Language Access Plan and Language Access Operations Manual.
If you do not speak English as your primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English, then you have a right to a court-appointed interpreter, and the Vermont Judiciary will provide you with an interpreter at no cost to you so that you can access or participate in court proceedings or services.
If you are Deaf or hearing impaired, you have a right to an interpreter or other accommodation to help you with any communication, and the Vermont Judiciary will provide you with an interpreter at no cost to you so that you can access or participate in court proceedings or services.
Each courthouse displays the INTERPRETER SERVICES/ I SPEAK poster in a visible place. The poster is designed to communicate to Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals in multiple languages, including ASL.
You may ask for an interpreter by:
- Visiting your local courthouse and asking any employee of the Judiciary to assign you an interpreter; or
- Filling out the form below to request an interpreter at a date and time when you have scheduled business with the court
If possible, please contact the court before your scheduled hearing or appointment.
Click on the appropriate link to below to request an interpreter:
The Judiciary keeps a list of interpreters and translators who are willing to provide services in covered court proceedings and organizations that assign individual interpreters. Courts generally look to this list when they receive a request for an interpreter or need a translator. Details regarding compensation for interpreters and translators can be found in the Language Access Operations Manual below.
Please note that some parties ask if a relative or friend can serve as an interpreter. Courts generally prefer to assign independent interpreters. Before a judge allows an interpreter to interpret during a court case, the judge will ask the interpreter about qualifications and training as well as connections to any party in the case. The judge decides whether someone can interpret accurately.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying to be an interpreter for the Vermont Judiciary, please review the Language Access Operations Manual:
Please also complete the forms in Appendix D and send it to the Language Access Program Manager:
Language Access Program
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0701
To interpret in a covered court proceeding and receive payment for that service, you must sign a form to affirm that:
- You are at least 18 years old
- You have provided accurate information on the Initial Determination of Interpreter Qualifications form
- You have read the Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Vermont State Court System, understand the responsibilities written in that document, and agree to follow them during any court proceeding in which you provide interpreting services
- You have not been convicted of a felony or any other crime of dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or moral turpitude
- You have not been disqualified from interpreting in any court or administrative hearing other than for a conflict of interest
Upon your appointment, the judge will ask you to swear an oath of true interpretation.