California Moves to Provide Interpreters in All Court Cases

California only guarantees access to an interpreter in criminal cases, not civil cases. The state is looking to change that.
News Story (California)

Associated Press (AP)
August 16, 2015

Tags: Language Access

Organizations mentioned/involved: Bay Area Legal Aid (San Francisco)


Going through a divorce has been difficult for Sepideh Saeedi. Not understanding what’s happening in court because she isn’t proficient in English has made the process even harder.

“When you don’t understand what the judge is saying, what the other side’s attorney is saying, it’s very stressful,” Saeedi, 33, who speaks Farsi, said after a recent court hearing in Redwood City, Calif.

Legal advocates say throughout the state, litigants in divorce, child custody, eviction and other civil cases who have difficulty with English are going into court without qualified interpreters. Instead, many are forced to turn to friends or family members — or worse yet, the opposing party — for translation.