Governor signs into law CFI-sponsored interpreter credential verification bill

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Ed Brown signed into law a CFI-sponsored bill that mandates an interpreter’s certification be stated and verified on the record for court proceedings and depositions, including requiring an interpreter to show identification to prove their certification or registration status, his office announced Thursday.

AB 2370 was introduced by Assemblymember Ed Chau and supported by our sister organization The Translators and Interpreters Guild (TTIG). It will help enforce California law, which requires certified interpreters be used in legal proceedings.

“This is a great victory for all interpreters. Our colleagues, both employees and independent contractors, are professionals who often find themselves competing for work against non certified and non registered interpreters,” CFI President Ariel Torrone said.

The new law seeks to prevent the fraud CFI and TTIG documented while advocating for its passage, such as non-interpreters stealing and using an interpreter’s certification number to obtain work and non certified interpreters passing themselves off as certified and telling judges their oath “is on file.”

“This law will increase awareness among judges and attorneys about the qualifications, or lack of qualifications, of the interpreters they rely on. It has the potential to increase the demand for certified interpreters,” said CFI’s Legislative Committee Chair Mary Lou Aranguren.

California law already requires any person who interprets a court proceeding must be a certified or registered court interpreter. AB2370 takes matters a step beyond by requiring the judge in a proceeding to obtain on the record:

  • the interpreter’s name,
  • certification information and
  • a statement that the interpreter’s oath was administered or is on file with the court.

AB2370 also requires courts to state on the record that a certified or registered interpreter is not available _ findings required by law _ before appointing provisionally qualified interpreters.

“Putting our certification on the record would solve a lot of the problems with the use of non certified interpreters. I am convinced that this is a step in the right direction,” said TTIG Chair Angie Birchfield.

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