About the Interpreter Services Division
The Interpreter Services Division ensures that a person with limited English proficiency is provided a court interpreter free of charge in all mandated case types.
These mandated areas include:
- Juvenile Delinquency
- Juvenile Dependency
- Child Support (AB1058)
- Mental Health
- Domestic Violence Cases
In addition, the Kern County Superior Court has recently expanded interpreter services to civil case types. We now provide a court interpreter free of charge as follows:
- All Family Law Cases
- All Elder Abuse Cases
- All Civil Harassment Cases
- Unlawful Detainer Cases
- Termination of Parental Rights Cases, and cases that involve custody or visitation of children
- Conservatorship and Guardianship Cases
- All Small Claim Cases
Please note: requests made in advance will assist in scheduling and will improve our ability to timely provide an interpreter and will reduce court continuances.
Need an Interpreter
Court interpreters are experts in language and are assigned to accurately interpret court proceedings. They are not parties to a case, have no interest in any case, and remain completely neutral in all matters. A court interpreter works for the court and does not represent any party. A court interpreter's sole responsibility is to bridge the communication barrier in order to provide limited English proficient users with access to Justice.
If you need an interpreter, please complete the Interpreter Request Form and submit the form in person at the Clerk's office.
All requests must be made in advance with as much notice as possible, and prior to the hearing (a minimum of two business days for Spanish and five business days for all other languages).
Language Access Complaint Process
If you believe you have not been provided with reasonable or professional language access, please complete the Language Access Complaint Form - IN006 via email or by mail to the Interpreter Services Division at the address listed below. The Court will respond within 30 days upon receipt of your complaint.
Please note that if your complaint does not fall within Language Access Services jurisdiction, it will be forwarded to the appropriate department/agency for investigation.
Interpreter Services Division, Language Access Services
1415 Truxtun Ave
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the topics/questions below for more information.
A certified interpreter is an individual who has passed the Court Interpreter Certification Examination or the required examination for American Sign Language and fulfills the Judicial Council requirements. The certified interpreter must pass a written and oral exam in English and the other language for which they are being certified.
Interpreters of spoken languages for which there is no state certifying examination are required to pass the English Fluency Examination and fulfill the corresponding Judicial Council requirements in order to become registered interpreters of a non-designated certified language.
Interpreters have an important job in the courtroom. They interpret court proceedings for parties with limited English skills or for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
While performing his or her duties, the court interpreter:
- will need to hear you speak in your native language, and may ask you questions such as where you are from or if you have ever used an interpreter before.
- will assist you in communicating with persons in the courtroom, including your lawyer, court staff and the judge.
- will interpret everything you say into English.
- will interpret everything said in court into your native language.
- will interpret everything that is said, without adding, omitting, or changing anything.
- is bound by the rules of confidentiality and will not repeat to anyone what you say privately to your lawyer.
- cannot give you legal advice.
- cannot talk to you about your case.
- cannot explain what certain words or terms mean.
- cannot answer questions about what will happen in court.
- cannot have private conversations with you, your family or friends.
Interpretation is the process by which oral communication is provided from one language to another. The original is either spoken or signed language, and the interpretation is delivered in another spoken language or in a signed language.
Translation is the process by which written text is converted from one language into another. The original is in written form, and the translation into the other language is also produced in written form. In both interpretation and translation, the goal is for the tone, style, and content of the original to be maintained in the other language.
Sight translation is a form of interpretation in which the content of a written text in one language is given orally (on sight) into another language.
NOTE: Interpretation and translation, while both language-related, are not identical disciplines. Credentialing is different for each, with both requiring a specific knowledge, training and practice.
When the District Attorney, Public Defender or defense counsel need the services of an interpreter away from the courthouse, they should make arrangements to contact, contract, and pay the interpreter. Please refer to "Search for an Interpreter"
To obtain a court provided interpreter, the party or the party's attorney may complete and submit the Interpreter Request Form the form in person at the clerks' office.
All requests must be made in advance with as much notice as possible, and prior to the hearing date in order to secure an interpreter (a minimum of two-business day notice for Spanish and five (5) business days for all other languages).