One of the most common areas for appealing a case involving foreign language interpreters is the trial court’s decision to appoint or refusal to appoint a foreign language interpreter. In general, the trial court is given wide discretion as to whether or not a foreign language interpreter is needed.
This being the case, when the issue on appeal involves the appointment or failure to appoint a foreign language interpreter, the standard of review used by the appellate courts is either abuse of discretion or plain error.
Under the abuse of discretion line of reasoning, the appellant must prove the court’s decision as to the appointment of a foreign language interpreter was prejudicial to their case. Typically, an abuse of discretion argument is grounded on either a procedural error related to the need for a foreign language interpreter or as to the foreign language interpreter’s performance during trial. Further, to have grounds for appeal, the appealing party must make a timely objection to the trial court’s decision during the original trial.
However, if the appealing party fails to properly object to an error during trial, they still have the option to file an appeal based on the plain error doctrine. In order to prevail on this ground, the appealing party must demonstrate that the decision pertaining to the appointment of a foreign language interpreter was made in error and was so egregious that it affected the substantial rights of the party, represented an abuse of justice, or resulted in an unfair trial.
See U.S. v. Joshi, 896 F.2d 1303 (11 Cir. 1990).
To read our earlier legal translation blawg post “Highly Skilled Court Interpreters in Great Demand”, click here.
To read another legal translation blawg post “How Do I Know If the Plaintiff or Defendant Needs a Foreign Language Interpreter?”, click here.
And to read “Qualifying a Foreign Language Interpreter as an Expert”, click on the earlier legal translation blog post here.
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