Supreme Court looking for comment on rule for court interpreters

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 4:03 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court is asking for public comment on a proposed rule for foreign language court interpreters.

The Kansas Supreme Court says it is accepting public comment on a proposed rule that would require foreign language court interpreters to complete a free online orientation course before being able to provide services in Kansas courts.

According to the Court, the language in proposed Supreme Court Rule 1705 would create a requirement that foreign language court interpreters complete the Kansas Judicial Branch Court Interpreter Orientation before being able to interpret or translate in a district court, although a judge can make an exception in emergencies.

The Court said the free online orientation gives an overview of interpretation skills, best practices, ethics and the Kansas court system. It said finishing the orientation will become a requirement for foreign language interpreters six months after the rule takes effect.

According to the Court, the rule does not apply to sign language interpreters or interpreters providing interpretation services from a remote location outside of Kansas.

The Court said under the proposed rule, interpreters will have to provide a copy of their certificate of orientation completion to a judicial district’s local language access coordinator. It said the certificate will not substitute for a judicial determination of an interpreter’s qualifications or for taking an interpreter’s oath.

According to the court, the rule also creates new duties for local language access coordinators and Office of Judicial Administration staff, including noting and retaining interpreters' certificates of completion. It said orientation registration information will be given on the Kansas Judicial Branch website.

The Court said comment may be made via email to until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. It said the subject line must read “Rule 1705.”

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