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									                           POLICY DIRECTIVE 95-154 (8th Supplement)


                CHIEF MAGISTRATE


DATED:          OCTOBER 10, 2003

         Attached please find the most recent information concerning the Certified Interpreters Program,
which is a Policy Directive issued by the Chief Justice, dated September 3, 2003. The Chief Justice's
Policy Directive makes minor changes to the Chief Magistrate's Court Interpreters' Policy Directive 95-
154 (7th Supplement), dated February 6, 2003. The changes include a new Request for Payment Form
which should be used by all courts effective immediately. There are no changes to the payment schedule,
Justice of the Peace Court Language Line instructions, or the Interpreter List, dated January, 2003 (which
is attached to Policy Directive 95-154 (7th Supplement) dated February 6, 2003).

       Also attached is information for Judges from the Judges‟ Guide to Standards for Interpreted
Proceedings on how to determine when an interpreter should be appointed for a defendant.

cc:    Honorable E. Norman Veasey
       Honorable Henry duPont Ridgely
       Honorable Alex J. Smalls
       Honorable Chandlee Kuhn
       Franny Haney
       Thomas W. Nagle
       Paulette Hopkins
       Anna A. Lewis
       H. John Betts
       Larry Sipple
       Law Libraries: New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County,
               Widener University School of Law
                    POLICY DIRECTIVE ON
                       September 3, 2003
       In July of 2001, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) assumed the
administration of the payment to interpreters in the Delaware Courts. This policy addresses the
need to standardize policies and procedures related to the use of court interpreters in the
Delaware Courts. This policy will become effective immediately upon issuance by the Supreme
Court and remain in effect until further notice.


        Each court/agency will contact the interpreter directly to schedule his or her services. The
Administrative Office of the Courts will provide an updated list to the Delaware Judicial
Conference, the court administrators, the Department of Justice, and the Public Defender‟s
Office following receipt of applications following orientation and after receiving final test
results. Upon request, the Administrative Office of the Courts will assist the courts/agencies by
providing information from New Jersey and Maryland Certified Court Interpreter programs on
interpreters certified in those states in languages other than those certified in Delaware.
Currently, Delaware only has certified court interpreters in Spanish. Maryland has certified
court interpreters in Spanish and Russian. New Jersey has certified interpreters (fully and
conditionally certified) in a variety of languages, including Albanian, American Sign Language
(ASL), Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French,
German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Panjabi,
Polish, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu,


Certified Court Interpreters – There are two levels of certified court interpreters in Delaware.
Interpreters included on the list entitled “Consortium Court Interpreters” (or “National Center
Certified”) have scored a minimum of 65% on each of the parts of the test and have obtained an
overall average of at least 70%. In addition, interpreters who have successfully completed the
certification process in a Consortium state and who have attended the orientation in Delaware
shall be included in the list of Consortium Certified Interpreters. These interpreters should be
contacted FIRST to see if they are available to provide interpretation for the Court. (It is
not necessary that a court contact an interpreter who lives at a significant distance from the court,
such as Washington, D.C., if it is not reasonable to expect the person to travel to interpret for
such proceeding.)

        The next level of certified interpreters on the list are “Delaware Certified Court
Interpreters” (or “Delaware Certified”), who have been conditionally certified. These
interpreters scored 50% or better in each part of the interpreter certification test (including
simultaneous, sight and consecutive) and obtained an overall average of at least 60% on the test,
have attended the orientation program and have successfully passed the criminal history
background check. These interpreters should be contacted once it is determined that a
Consortium Court Interpreter is not available.

Eligible Uncertified Interpreters – The list of “Uncertified Eligible Court Interpreters”
includes interpreters who have attended the AOC‟s Orientation Program; submitted the
registration form including a copy of their Delaware business license; and successfully passed
the criminal history background check. The interpreters on the list should be contacted only
if the certified interpreters are unavailable.

American Sign Language Interpreters – ASL interpreters are included under the Eligible
Uncertified listing of the AOC. If the interpreter is RID (National Registry of Interpreters for the
Deaf) certified, they must provide proof of their certification to the AOC when they complete the
application to become an interpreter. Priority shall be given to RID certified interpreters. Team
interpreting is appropriate for proceedings, which are expected to last longer than 2 hours, in
circumstances in which the deaf person does not understand American Sign Language, or in
cases involving complex testimony and/or technical information. Judges should be aware that
ASL interpreting is physically and mentally demanding and should discuss with the interpreter
their need for breaks.

Telephonic LANGUAGE LINE Interpreter Services – For arraignments, capias returns, pleas
or other short, non-evidentiary court proceedings where the need for an interpreter is not
previously known or cannot be foreseen, it may be appropriate to use bilingual Court staff for
interpreting or the Language Line interpreters, keeping in mind the high cost of Language Line
services. General instructions on usage of the Language Line services are attached for your

If Unavailable – If no certified or eligible uncertified interpreter is available at the date and time
needed, the court may take whatever steps necessary to ensure that non-English language
speaking, deaf or hearing impaired individuals have access to the court. However, for the
Administrative Office of the Courts to pay an interpreter who is not on the AOC interpreter list,
including any agency who provides interpretative services, the Courts must complete the
documentation section on the reimbursement form provided to the Administrative Office of the
Courts explaining their efforts to obtain a certified interpreter. Using telephonic Language Line
interpreter services or bilingual court staff (who are not certified) for short, non-evidentiary court
proceedings are exceptions to this limitation.


        The Administrative Office of the Courts will contract only with those individual
interpreters who have successfully completed the requirements to become a certified Delaware
Court Interpreter and are included on the interpreter list maintained by the Administrative Office
of the Courts. Interpreters who are not on the AOC interpreter list, as well as agencies that
provide interpretative services, may not be used unless a court cannot locate an individual
certified interpreter or other interpreter (“eligible, uncertified”) on the AOC interpreter list, and
the court has properly documented its efforts to obtain a certified interpreter.

                           PAYMENT OF COURT INTERPRETERS


        If it appears to the Court that a person involved in court proceedings including
defendants, victims or witnesses, is not capable of speaking the English language to such an
extent as to sufficiently understand the proceedings or to communicate with the Court, the Court
may appoint an interpreter consistent with this policy.

        Recognizing that a person‟s inability to communicate with the Court or to understand all
court proceedings denies that person equal access to the judicial system, it is our goal to provide
all such persons access to interpretative services, which would be paid out of funds provided
through the judicial system, by law, or otherwise by the State consistent with reasonable
budgetary constraints. As long as budgetary funds are available for this purpose, the
Administrative Office of the Courts shall either provide through its funds, or direct the State or
the Public Defender to pay for, an interpreter for indigent criminal defendants and for deaf or
hearing disabled persons, or for other persons qualifying under the ADA in all court proceedings.
For purposes of this policy, court proceedings for which court interpreters are required are
limited to official proceedings conducted by judicial officers or court officials. Interpreters shall
be paid by court funds for non-indigent criminal defendants1, and for civil and other types of
proceedings if required by law, or at the discretion of the judicial officer after consultation with
the interpreter program director. In other criminal proceedings, court interpreters shall be paid
by the party requiring the interpreter‟s use. In those civil and other proceedings for which
interpreters are not required by law to be provided at the State‟s expense, the expense of the
court interpreter may be assessed to the parties as costs, pursuant to court rules.


       Payments for individual Court‟s usage of interpreters will be made by the Administrative
Office of the Courts.

        The Attorney General‟s office and the Public Defender‟s office will arrange for and pay
the interpreters that they use as part of the court hearing, consistent with the Attorney General‟s
power to investigate and prosecute criminal charges under 29 Del.C. §2504 and with the Public
Defender‟s authority to appoint “employees as necessary . . . to carry out the responsibilities of
the office” under 29 Del.C. §4603(b). Similarly, attorneys appointed by the Court to represent
indigent criminal defendants pursuant to 29 Del.C. §4605 will be reimbursed for court interpreter

  The Justice of the Peace Court is required, pursuant to J.P. Crim. R. 28, to pay the reasonable
compensation of an interpreter for all criminal defendants or witnesses who are not capable of
speaking the English language to such an extent as to understand the proceedings, regardless of
expenses necessarily incurred. Except in the Justice of the Peace Court for criminal cases, cases
involving persons qualified under the ADA and conflict/contract attorneys appointed pursuant to
29 Del.C. §4605, private attorneys must engage and pay any interpreter that they use; however, if
the interpreter is used as part of a court proceeding, the interpreter should be on the list
maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts, consistent with this policy. (For the
Justice of the Peace Court procedures, see J.P. Crim. R. 28.)

       Currently, court interpreters will by paid by the Administrative Office of the Courts at the
following rates:

               Level 1 (uncertified eligible interpreters)          $20/hour

               Level 2 (Delaware certified interpreters)            $25/hour

               Level 3 (Consortium certified interpreters)          $35/hour

               American Sign Language interpreters (deaf)           $60/hour

       There is a minimum one-hour payment for court interpreters. In exceptional
circumstances only, court interpreters may be reimbursed for travel at a rate of $.31 per mile, at
the discretion of the appropriate court official. When court interpreters are called to work
between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., the fee rate is increased by $5.00 per hour and there is a two-hour
minimum. Interpreters who are court staff or county staff in a court are not eligible for

        The AOC‟s reimbursement form for payment of court interpreters used by a Court is
attached. This form shall be completed to obtain reimbursement for a court interpreters and
provides pertinent information regarding the case such as case number, date and time of hearing,
length of time that interpreter was needed, location of the Court, the name, address, and social
security number of the interpreter, and the reasons for using an interpreter not on the AOC list,
when such an interpreter is used. This form should be sent to the Administrative Office of the
Courts immediately following the hearing.

                                ORIENTATION AND TESTING

        Recruitment of interpreters, orientation and testing in the Spanish language is the
responsibility of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Orientation is the mandatory first step
in becoming an interpreter in Delaware. Interpreters who have passed the “Consortium” level of
the certification testing in another state may apply to be included on Delaware‟s Consortium
Certified list. They must submit an application to the Administrative Office of the Courts,
provide proof that they have passed the Consortium test, and complete Delaware‟s orientation
program or provide proof that they are completed the orientation program provided by another
Consortium member state.
        Testing in the Spanish language will be held on a yearly basis in two (2) phases. Phase I
will consist of sight and simultaneous modes of interpretation; Phase II will be consecutive
interpretation. Testing for additional languages will occur when practicable. For the
deaf/hearing-impaired interpreters, certification/accreditation with their national/state board must
accompany their Delaware application.

       Records of all interpreters will be maintained in the Administrative Office of the Courts
and will be updated annually. An interpreter on the AOC interpreters list who no longer wishes
to provide service to the courts must notify the Administrative Office of the Courts to have their
name removed.

                               DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

        Delaware is in the process of adopting a policy on disciplining court interpreters, which
will be modeled on the policy adopted by the Consortium of State Court Interpreters


        The Administrative Office of the Courts will publish the list of interpreters for the use of
each court/agency. The interpreters will provide the Administrative Office of the Courts with the
information to be included in the list. The Administrative Office of the Courts will update the list
following receipt of applications and following the final scoring of the exams. The list will be
sent to the members of the Judicial Conference, the Commissioners, and the Court
Administrators. It will be the responsibility of the Court Administrators to give the list to their
court staff who are charged with contacting the interpreters.

        The list will also be distributed to the Department of Justice, the Public Defender‟s
Office, and to private attorneys upon request. The list will not be sent to agencies that employ
interpreters, unless such distribution is approved by the Court Interpreters‟ Advisory Committee.
This list is considered to be a confidential list.



Date of Hearing                              Type of Hearing(s)

Time of hearing: From:              A.M./P.M.        To:          A.M./P.M.

Total time for which interpreter should be paid:_____________ (hours)

Name of defendant(s)


Name of interpreter                                                           _____
                            (Please print clearly)


Telephone number of interpreter                                               _____

Social security or E.I. number

Approval for payment____________________________________
                               Court official’s signature)

Additional notes (i.e., explain efforts to contact certified interpreters if uncertified
interpreter used):_________________________________________________________

Please return this form to the Administrative Office of the Courts‟
Fiscal Office, Suite 16100, 500 N. King St., Wilmington, DE 19801 N210 or fax to 302-255-
                           JUDGES’ GUIDE TO STANDARDS
                          FOR INTERPRETED PROCEEDINGS

   [Excerpts from Chapter 6, Court Interpretation: Model Guides for Policy and
 Practice in the State Courts, William E. Hewitt, State Justice Institute Publication
                        No. R-167, pages 125-26; Figure 6.1]

                        When Should an Interpreter be Appointed?

             Many individuals have enough proficiency in a second language to
communicate at a very basic level. But participation in court proceedings requires
far more than a very basic level of communicative capability. Consider that in
order for non-English speaking criminal defendants to testify in their own defense
they must be able to:

       accurately and completely describe persons, places, situations, events;
       tell “what happened” over time,
       request clarifications when questions are vague or misleading, and
       during cross-examination:
         • recognize attempts to discredit their testimony,
         • refuse to confirm contradictory interpretations of facts, and
         • defend their position.

        Moreover, for defendants to evaluate and respond to adverse testimony of witnesses, and assist in
their defense, they must comprehend the details and the subtle nuances of both questions and answers
spoken in English during the testimony of adverse witnesses, and, at appropriate times, secure the
attention of counsel and draw attention to relevant details of testimony.
        In non-evidentiary proceedings that involve determination of custodial status, advisement of
rights, consideration of sentences, and articulation of obligations and responsibilities established in orders
of the court, non-English speaking persons must receive the same consideration as native speakers of

      It is recommended that judges presume a bona fide need for an interpreter
when a representation is made by an attorney or by a pro se litigant that a party
or witness has limited proficiency in English and requests an interpreter.
                             Assessing the need for an interpreter
         When a party does not request an interpreter but appears to have a limited ability to
communicate in English, the court should conduct a brief voir dire to determine the extent of the
disability. Such a voir dire should avoid questions that can be appropriately answered with „yes” or „no.
The voir dire should include “wh-questions” (what, where, who, when) and questions that call for
describing people, places or events or a narration (tell what happened.) A model for such a voir dire is
illustrated below.

       When any doubt exists about the ability of persons to comprehend proceedings fully or
adequately express themselves in English) interpreters should be appointed.

          Model Voir Dire for Determining the Need for an Interpreter

In general:     Avoid any questions that can be answered with “yes- no” replies.

Identification questions:

 “Ms. _____ , please tell the court your name and address.”

 “Please also tell us your birthday, how old you are, and where you were born.”

Questions using active vocabulary in vernacular English:

“How did you come to court today?”

“What kind of work do you do?”

“What was the highest grade you completed in school?”

“Where did you go to school?”

“What have you eaten today?”

“Please describe for me some of the things (or people) you see in the courtroom.”

“Please tell me a little bit about how comfortable you feel speaking and understanding


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