What Does a Court Interpreter Do?
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2017 16:24
A Certified Court Interpreter (i.e. "Allgemein beeideter und gerichtlich zertifizierter Dolmetscher", "Sworn and Certified Court Interpreter") is an interpreter available particularly for work at courts and authorities (police, asylum authorities, etc.), who must command the required specific knowledge. The swearing in and certification are part of a judicial administrative procedure applying strict selection criteria. "Sworn" means that the interpreter is permanently under oath for all proceedings in which he/she takes a part, as opposed to a mere "ad hoc" interpreter, who is put under oath only in exceptional cases for specific proceedings. The amendment of 1 January 1999 to the Court Experts and Interpreters Act introduced "judicial certification", in addition to swearing in, in order to take account of quality assurance requirements also for interpreting/translating services. The designation clearly shows that the interpreter/translator has undergone a quality assurance procedure and is continuously subjected to such a procedure, specifically for his/her work in Austrian courts. For the purpose of an improved quality assurance, the personal requirements for registration in the Lists were expanded; the registration procedure was regulated in greater detail by laying down statutory rules for the Certification Commission, and a periodic review of the registration prerequisites was introduced. The title "Sworn and Certified Court Interpreter" is protected by law; an action for injunction may be filed against any person using this title unlawfully, and/or a fine of € 10.000 (maximum) may be imposed upon infringers.
The services of Certified Court Interpreter are also used outside the public sector and by private persons, i.e. for notarial documents, marriages, translations of contracts, documents, etc.
The activities of Certified Court Interpreters are regulated by the "Federal Act of 19 February 1975, as amended in Federal Gazette I No. 111/2007, concerning Sworn and Certified Court Experts and Interpreters" and - for the authentication of translations - by the Non-Litigious Matters Act, Federal Law Gazette I No. 111/2003, § 190.
Owing to the strict selection criteria Court Interpreters are highly qualified, and specific legal provisions make them particularly trustworthy (e.g., the law imposes the obligation of secrecy upon them). The certified translations prepared by them are official and public documents, and Court Interpreters are liable for their correctness.