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Effective 1/1/2015

The New Law: AB 2370

Governor Brown in September signed AB 2370 by Assemblymember Ed Chau. The bill amends Section 68561 of the Government Code, and the provisions of the law relevant to depos read as follows:

"(h) In a deposition ... a certified or registered interpreter shall state all of the following for the record:

(1) His or her qualifications, including his or her name and certification or registration number.
(2) A statement that the interpreter's oath was administered to him or her or that he or she has an oath on file with the court.
(3) A statement that he or she has presented to both parties the interpreter certification or registration badge issued to him or her by the Judicial Council or other documentation that verifies his or her certification or registration accompanied by photo identification."

What You As a Freelancer Need to Know

Beginning January 1, 2015, whenever there is an interpreter present in your deposition, the interpreter should make the statements listed above per Government Code 68561 (h) (1)-(3). While this new law requires no action to be taken by the reporter, as the deposition officer, you might consider inviting the interpreter to make these statements at the outset of the deposition.

As the deposition officer, you have neither the responsibility nor the authority to bar or accept an interpreter based on certification status; that decision lies with the parties. All you can do is invite the interpreter to make these recitals on the record.

Why Has This Change Been Made?

Under current law, judges overseeing court proceedings are required to follow procedures to distinguish certified interpreters from those not certified. Non-certified interpreters under current law may only be lawfully assigned by a judge to interpret a judicial proceeding for good cause or when a certified interpreter is unavailable.

A certified interpreter must take an oath that he or she will make a true interpretation of the court proceeding with his or her best skill and judgment. This oath is administered by a judge, and a written oath is then signed by the interpreter and put on file. This process is known as having an "oath on file" and makes it unnecessary to administer an oath at each court proceeding.

According to the sponsor of the bill, the California Federation of Interpreters, some persons engaged by the courts to provide interpreting services have deceived the courts by misrepresenting their status and qualifications. The Federation said that non-certified interpreters often represent that they have an oath on file when they don't. The intent of this bill is to ensure that an interpreter is certified by requiring proof of that by means of a certification number, certification status, a badge or photo identification.