Bankruptcy proceedings are difficult for any individual and any business. They can be even more burdensome for non-English-speaking debtors due to the language and cultural barriers. The Department of Justice helps the non-English speakers by providing Vietnamese translation, Hmong translation, Tagalog translation, Korean translation, Chinese translation, French translation, Arabic translation, and Spanish translation of Bankruptcy Information Sheet on its Web site.
This Information Sheet contains general information on the types of bankruptcy (Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 12, and Chapter 11), as well as on the bankruptcy discharge and reaffirmation agreement.
If the debtor can’t speak English well enough to understand the questions asked at the Section 341 Meeting, i.e. at the meeting of the creditors, the United States Trustee Manual calls for a foreign language interpreter to be provided. Interestingly, the Manual puts the burden on the United States Trustee to “make sure that the interpreter understands enough business and bankruptcy terminology to be able to obtain intelligent and meaningful responses to the questions”. That requirement almost calls for the services of a financial translator, or a financial interpreter, or, at the very least, a business translator, or a business interpreter.
But how would the United States Trustee know whether he or she has found a competent interpreter, when the Trustee personally doesn’t speak the language in question?
Many answers to this question can be found in our earlier legal translation blawg post, “Qualifying a Foreign Language Interpreter as an Expert”.
Still not sure that the debtor needs a foreign language interpreter? Then read “How Do I Know If the Plaintiff or Defendant Needs a Foreign Language Interpreter?”, which is posted in our legal translation blawg here.
Contact our professional translation service to retain professional court interpreters for government debriefings, depositions, hearings, IMEs, settlement conferences, mediation, arbitrations, and trials.