Frequently Asked Questions -- Interpreters
Oakland County, MichiganCourtsCircuit CourtFrequently Asked Questions -- Interpreters

Frequently Asked Questions -- Interpreters

Q: When must an interpreter be appointed?  

When a request is made or when the court determines that an interpreter is necessary for meaningful participation in the case or court proceeding. MCR 1.111(B)(1)

Q: Who is entitled to an interpreter?

A:  1) a party; 2) A witness who is testifying in a criminal or civil case; or 3) a person who the court determines has a substantial interest in the case/proceeding. MCR 1.111(B)(1)(2)

Q: May a person waive the right to an interpreter?

Yes, if the court determines that the waiver is knowing and voluntary and will not affect the person's rights and integrity of the case. MCR 1.111(C)

Q: Which type of interpreter must be obtained?

Whenever practicable, the court must appoint a SCAO Certified Interpreter. If a certified interpreter is not available, the court may appoint a SCAO Qualified Interpreter.  MCR 1.111(F)(1)

Q: What if SCAO does not have certified or qualified interpreters for a certain language?

If neither SCAO Certified nor Qualified Interpreters are available, the court may appoint a person whom the court determines to be capable of conveying meaningful communication of the proceedings.  MCR 1.111(F)(2)

Please contact Court Administration for assistance in obtaining interpreters in these instances.

Q: How many interpreters are needed?

Only a single interpreter is needed for a case or court proceeding. However, the court has the discretion to appoint more than one interpreter as the circumstances necessitate.  MCR 1.111 (F)(3)

Q: When time is of the essence, how do I secure meaningful communication quickly?

For immediate assistance with foreign language communication that is expected to last ½ hour or less, telephonic interpretation is available through Linguistica International at (866) 908-5744.

Please note: you will need the case file number and the current contract code before using this service. Contact Court Administration for assistance in using this service.

Q: Who sets the interpreters compensation?

The court has the authority to set reasonable compensation. MCR 1.111(F)(4)  Oakland County Circuit Court payment policies are as follows:
  • Certified Interpreters are paid $60 per hour.
  • Qualified Interpreters are paid $45 per hour.
  • The court pays a 2-hour minimum, except when the court cancels with less than 24-hour notice.
  • There is no compensation for mileage, travel, or lunch hours.
  • When reasonable, one interpreter will handle multiple clients.
  • Extraordinary fees are determined on a case-by-case basis and must have prior approval from the Court's Business Manager.

Q: Will a party be required to reimburse the court for the interpreter services?

The court has the discretion to order a party to reimburse the court for all or part of an interpreter's cost. MCR 1.111(F)(5)

Q: Are interpreters for American Sign Language governed by the same court rule as Foreign Language Interpreters?

No.  Rules for American Sign Language interpreting are governed by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  Website http://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/0,4613,7-138-28545---,00.html