Recommended Standards for Interpreters

Standard 18 – Interpreters as officers of the court


Interpreters are officers of the court or tribunal in the sense that they owe to the court or tribunal paramount duties of accuracy and impartiality in the office of interpreter which override any duty that person may have to any party to the proceedings, even if that person is engaged directly by that party.

Standard 19 – Code of Conduct for Interpreters in Legal Proceedings


Interpreters must ensure that they are familiar with, and comply with, the Court Interpreters Code of Conduct.

Standard 20 – Duties of interpreters


Interpreters must diligently and impartially interpret communications in connection with a proceeding as accurately and completely as possible.


Interpreters must comply with any direction of the court or tribunal.


Where the interpreter becomes aware that they may have a conflict of interest, the interpreter must alert the court or tribunal to the possible conflict of interest immediately, and, if necessary, withdraw from the assignment or proceed as directed by the court or tribunal.


Requests by the interpreter for repetition, clarification and explanation should be addressed to the judicial officer rather than to the questioning counsel, witness or party.


There may be occasions when the interpreter needs to correct a mistake. All corrections should be addressed to the judicial officer rather than to the questioning counsel, witness or party.


If the interpreter recognises a potential cross-cultural misunderstanding, or comprehension or cognitive difficulties on the part of the person for whom the interpreter is interpreting, the interpreter should seek leave from the judicial officer to raise the issue.


Interpreters must keep confidential all information acquired, in any form whatsoever, in the course of their engagement or appointment in the office of interpreter (including any communication subject to client legal privilege) unless:

  1. that information is or comes into the public domain; or
  2. the beneficiary of the client legal privilege has waived that privilege.