Not all interpreters are certified in Maryland since a test is not administered in all languages, however, the Court must appoint an interpreter from the Maryland Court Interpreter List, which is available in the Court Administrator's Office, from the Administrative Office of the Courts or by calling 410-260-1291.
Court interpreters can normally be assigned to any proceeding before a judge or a master and can include other court-approved, eligible events. The role of the interpreter in a court proceeding is to remain completely neutral (at no time should an interpreter express or interject their personal opinions into the translation) while making certain that all testimony is translated as accurately as possible so that all of the parties, witnesses, attorneys, jurors, the judge and court staff can understand what is being read or stated.
About Our On-Staff Spanish-Speaking Interpreter
Baltimore County has the benefit of a Spanish-speaking interpreter who is employed by the Clerk’s Office. The interpreter, or a supplemental Spanish-speaking backup interpreter, is available on a daily basis when court is in session. The interpreter’s regular presence in the courthouse allows some Spanish-speaking matters to go forward without delay. The fact that a Spanish-speaking interpreter may be available does not obviate attorneys and parties of the requirement to make a timely request for an interpreter’s presence in court by following the process below.
Request an Interpreter
If there is a need for an interpreter for a party or witness in any Circuit Court case, the party or their attorney shall promptly notify the Court by submitting a request form to the Clerk’s Office, at least two weeks before the actual date that you will need an interpreter to attend the court event. If you need an interpreter for a protracted case or if the language that you need interpreted is somewhat unique, you may want to plan on more time. A delay in notifying the Court of the need for an interpreter may result in the inability to handle a case on the scheduled date.
Complete the applicable request form below:
- Sign language interpreter—Request for Accommodation for Person with Disability form
- Spoken language interpreter—Request for Spoken Language Interpreter form
Requests for interpreters must be specific as to:
- Case name/number, type of proceeding and date/time that the case will be heard
- For whom the interpreter is needed (party, witness, parent of respondent)
- Names and addresses of all attorneys involved
- The language and, if appropriate, the particular dialect or signing system that may be needed
- The length of the scheduled court event (Note: Unless the Court is advised of a case’s specific duration, the Court will only hire interpreters for a single morning or afternoon session.)
The attorneys will be notified of the appointment in the mail. The party requesting an interpreter shall remain responsible for confirming that an interpreter has been ordered. Any ethical conflicts regarding the assignment should be brought to the attention of the Court Administrator's Office prior to appointment or if not realized until the day of the hearing to the trial judge during the proceeding. Once an interpreter has been appointed in a case, there is no need for the party or his or her attorney to submit a new request for each court event.
Payment and Cost
The Court will pay for interpreters for the parties or the witnesses at all Court scheduled events, unless the judge requires that the costs should be taxed as part of court costs. All interpreters are paid:
- A two-hour minimum
- Hourly rate of $30 to $45 per hour, this rate depends on:
- How much advance notice is given to obtain the interpreter
- The type of interpreter
- The time of day the interpreter is utilized (evenings and weekends)
- Mileage at $.34 per mile
Most interpreters require at least 24 hours for cancellation and some need 48 hours. Payment of these costs may be required if sufficient cancellation is not provided.
Postpone or Cancel Your Request
If the case is postponed, you should notify the Court Administrator's Office as soon as possible so that another date can be obtained for an interpreter.
If you need to cancel the request, because the case has been settled by a consent agreement or through some pretrial dispositive motion, notify the Court immediately by submitting the Cancellation of Interpreter form either by email to email@example.com or via mail.
Cost of Failure to Cancel
If a request for interpreter is not canceled at least 48 hours in advance of the trial or hearing, the Court will be billed for the interpreter’s services. If the Court is billed for an interpreter needlessly as a result of counsel’s failure to advise the Court that the interpreter will not be needed, or because counsel or a litigant does not appear in court in a timely fashion, the Court may assess the interpreter costs (two-hour minimal charges) against the party or counsel causing the unnecessary expense.
Interpreters for Other Court Events
The Court does not pay for interpreters that will be used during the pre-trial stage such as deposition hearings, nor is one provided at trial for purposes of holding attorney and client discussions. If interpreters are needed for these purposes, they should be retained independently by the attorneys or the parties themselves.
Become an Interpreter
In order to appear on the Maryland Court Interpreter List, interpreters must attend a mandatory workshop conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts.