Determining the Unavailability of Foreign Language Translator/ Interpreter
to Provide Expert Witness Testimony in Person

Telephonic Evidence Translation Services

Over the Phone Legal Interpreting Services

Earlier we blogged about the admissibility of the telephonic expert witness testimony by a foreign language translator/ court interpreter. One key factor in a court’s decision to allow telephonic testimony is whether or not the witness is available. Thus, in order to admit foreign language translator testimony via telephone, a party must sufficiently demonstrate that in fact the foreign language translator/ interpreter is “truly unavailable”.

According to the Federal Rules of Evidence pertaining to admitting telephonic evidence, a witness is truly unavailable when it is shown that he/ she is unable to attend the hearing. Although the trial court has great discretion in determining whether or not a witness is able to attend a hearing, a common theme in many rulings is that a witness is truly unavailable when he or she lives outside the jurisdiction, and the need to travel to the hearing would be unreasonably burdensome to the witness.

See Beltran-Tirado v. INS, 213 F.3d 1179, 1186 (9th Cir. 2000); In re S.B., 639 N.W.2d 78, 83-84 (Neb. 2002); State v. Rosengren, 199 Ariz. 112, 116 14 P.3d 303, 307 (App. 2000).

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Up Next: Admissibility of Telephonic Expert Witness Testimony
by Foreign Language Translator/ Court Interpreter