The California Constitution mandates that a person unable to understand English who is charged with a crime has a
right to an interpreter throughout the proceedings. Courts must provide specially trained language interpreters for
witnesses, victims, and defendants who understand little or no English. Pursuant to Assembly Bill No. 1657, the court
will provide interpreter services to all parties and witnesses in all case types. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing
are entitled to an interpreter for all court proceedings, whether criminal or civil. Because of the high number of Spanish
speaking defendants in traffic court, the Court usually provides an interpreter for traffic hearings as well. The cost of
court interpreters is borne by the Court.
Court interpreters are available in many languages and dialects. Some of the most common languages include Spanish,
Arabic, Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog,
Vietnamese, and American Sign Language.
The Court's Local Rule 8.5 states that an individual who is entitled to and requires the assistance of a court
interpreter must notify the Court at least three (3) calendar days before the hearing.
Often, the need for a court interpreter is not known until the first court hearing. Following an examination of a
defendant, party or witness, the Court may determine that the individual does not understand English or does not
speak English well enough to be understood by the Court, counsel and the jury. The Interpreter Coordinator then
makes arrangements to have an interpreter present in Court for the next hearing date.
Language Access Complaint and Feedback Form
Effective January 1, 2018, California Rules of Court, Rule 2.851 requires each superior court to establish a language access services
complaint form and related procedures to respond to language access services complaints that relate to staff or court interpreters, or
to local translations, as soon as reasonably possible but no later than December 31, 2018. If you have a complaint or feedback for Marin
County Superior Court, click on a language below to open a complaint form to complete and submit to email@example.com.
You will receive an acknowledgment of the receipt of your complaint regarding the Courts language access services within 30 days.
You will also be contacted about the status of resolution of your complaint within 60 days.
Please be aware this will not change or modify any decision made by a judicial officer and that its review of the complaint does not, in any
way, affect or extend any applicable deadlines or procedural requirements such as filing motions, appeals, modifications, etc.
A Career as a Court Interpreter
For information about becoming a court interpreter, contact the Judicial Council of California, Court Interpreters
Program at (415) 865-7530 or click here.