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In April 1996, Chief Justice E. Norman Veasey established Delaware's Certified Court Interpreter Program ("Program") under Administrative Directive No. 107 in recognition of the guiding principle that all persons should enjoy equal access to the Delaware justice system regardless of age, color, gender, national origin, physical or mental disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. The Program’s goal is to provide language assistance and certified and qualified interpreters to the courts thus ensuring equal access to the judicial system for litigants with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Delaware has since then made great strides and currently has strong policies and procedures in place to ensure language access to the judiciary. The existing and contemplated programs and policies of the Judicial Branch aimed at taking reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to all individuals in any encounters with the Delaware Judiciary regardless of their national origin or limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English are contained in the Delaware Judiciary Language Access Plan, (LAP).
The Court Interpreter Program
Since its inception, the Court Interpreter Program has continually developed in response to the sustained growth of the limited English proficient (“LEP”) populations in Delaware and in keeping with the Judiciary’s commitment to equal access to the courts.
The Court Interpreter Program is managed by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) under the direction of the Court Interpreter Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is comprised of 5 Delaware judges, a certified interpreter, and the Coordinator of the Court Interpreter Program. The Program is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and procedures on the use of interpreters in the Delaware courts; the interpreter services budget; the recruitment, testing, and certification of interpreter candidates and other general administrative duties.
Becoming an Interpreter
All candidates wishing to become certified or otherwise qualified must complete a qualification and registration process consisting, in short, of four steps: orientation seminar, written exam, criminal background check and oral exam. After certification and before inclusion in the Court Interpreter Registry, the candidate will enter into a service agreement with the AOC and sign an Oath to abide by the Code of Ethics for Professional Interpreters. In order to remain in the Registry interpreter must be in good standing and comply with all steps and requirements of the Program as outlined in the Court Interpreter Program Policy Directive.FAQs on how to become a Court Interpreter
For more information on becoming a certified interpreter in Delaware, please contact:
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Renaissance Centre
405 N. King Street, Suite 507
Wilmington, DE 19801
How to Request Interpreter Services
Who to contact:
If you need interpreter services (including ASL or CART) for a court hearing or trial because you are a Limited English Proficient (LEP) individual, Deaf or hard of hearing, or an attorney who represents either a LEP individual or a Deaf or hard of hearing individual, notify the court in which the case will be heard. Please visit the Hours & Locations section for a list of court locations.
When to contact:
To ensure that a request for interpreter services is timely provided, individuals or their attorneys if the individual is represented should make the request to the court fourteen (14) days prior to the scheduled trial or hearing. Later notice may result in the trial or hearing being rescheduled until the requested interpreter services are secured.
Exception - Individuals represented by the Public Defender:
Individuals represented by a Public Defender who need interpreter services should contact the Office of the Public Defender in the county in which the matter is being heard.