This month’s Texas Bar Journal features DIY Depositions, an article exploring the pros and cons of recording depositions without a certified court reporter. The relevant statutes allow this practice under certain exceptions, but the author’s conclusion is that the inconveniences, risks, and resources required are usually not worth the meager savings of eliminating the services of a professional, certified court reporter.
The question of avoiding interpreter fees is also relevant for many law practices. Some bilingual attorneys interpret for their clients’ testimony when possible, and even more use bilingual assistants to interpret during pre-appearance preparations. One attorney recently posted on Facebook in praise of a bilingual Justice of the Peace judge who allowed pro se litigants to proceed in Spanish, saving the parties hundreds of dollars in interpreter fees.
It’s true that there are ways to save on interpreter fees–but do they provide a true savings or a false economy?
You may have seen some interpreters around the courthouse wearing a white button that bears their credential—Master Licensed Court Interpreter (MLCI). The slogan across the top reads Fiat justicia — “Let justice be done.”
I’m always glad when a potential client calls me for the first time to check availability and rates. And I really like it when they also ask, “By the way, you are court certified, right?” This tells me the client is interested in doing things right—my kind of client. But, before I answer that question, I always have an internal debate over how detailed my answer should be. Normally, I conclude that they just want to know if I’m qualified to interpret for the assignment they are asking me about. So, I just say, “Yes.”
But, at least here in Texas, this seemingly straightforward question is actually quite complicated. I hope this post will shed some light on qualifications for court interpreters in Texas. Continue reading →