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Effective Date: 3/1/2005

Obsolete Date: 8/1/2015


The Judicial System's policy is to ensure that adequate court interpreter services are provided for those persons who are unable to readily understand or communicate in the English language because of a disability or a non-English speaking background. This rule establishes court interpreter qualifications and general procedures to assist in ensuring that effective interpreter services are provided.


Except as otherwise provided in this rule, in order to provide court interpreter services in a judicial proceeding as required by statute, rule, or order of the court, a person must have the following qualifications:

A. If providing interpreter services for a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, certification by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, certification by the National or North Dakota Association for the Deaf, or approval by the superintendent for the state school for the deaf.

B. If providing interpreter services for a non-English speaking person, certification by a recognized interpreter certification program in another jurisdiction and presence on a statewide roster of interpreters, if any, maintained by that jurisdiction.


If a court interpreter satisfying the requirements of Section 2 is not available, a court may obtain the services of any other interpreter whose actual qualifications have been determined by examination or other appropriate means. For purposes of this section, "actual qualifications" means the ability to readily communicate with a non-English speaking person and orally transfer the meaning of statements to and from English and the language spoken by the non-English speaking person, or the ability to communicate with a hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled person, interpret the proceedings, and accurately repeat and interpret the statements of the hearing-impaired or otherwise disabled person.


A. Interpreter Oath. Before commencing duties, an interpreter shall take an oath that the interpreter will make a true, complete, and impartial interpretation in an understandable manner to the person requiring interpretation services and that the interpreter will truly, completely, and impartially repeat the statements of the person to the best of the interpreter's skills and judgment.

B. Conflicts of Interest - Bias. An interpreter shall disclose to the court any actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may impair the interpreter's ability to adequately interpret the proceedings. An interpreter shall be impartial and unbiased and shall refrain from conduct that may give the appearance of bias.

C. Objection to Interpreter. An objection regarding any circumstances that may render an interpreter unqualified to interpret in the proceeding must be made in a timely manner. The court shall consider the objection and make a ruling on the record.

D. Method of Interpretation. As the circumstances require, the court shall consult with the interpreter and the parties regarding the method of interpretation to be used to ensure that a complete and accurate interpretation of the testimony of a witness or party is obtained.

E. Recording of Proceeding. The court on its own motion or on the motion of a party may order that the testimony of the person for whom interpretation services are provided and the interpretation be recorded for use in verifying the official transcript of the proceeding. If an interpretation error is believed to have occurred based on review of the recording, a party may file a motion requesting that the court direct that the official transcript be amended.

F. Additional Interpreter. As circumstances may require, the court may provide an additional interpreter to afford relief and reduce fatigue if the time period of interpretation exceeds [2] continuous hours.

G. Removal of Interpreter. The court may remove an interpreter if the interpreter:

(1) is unable to adequately interpret the proceedings;

(2) knowingly makes a false interpretation;

(3) knowingly discloses confidential or privileged information obtained while serving as an interpreter;

(4) knowingly fails to disclose a conflict of interest that impairs the ability to provide complete and accurate interpretation; or

(5) fails to appear as scheduled without good cause.


This rule is effective March 1, 2005.

Dated at Bismarck, North Dakota, December 8, 2004.

Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice
William A. Neumann, Justice
Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice
Mary Muehlen Maring, Justice
Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justice

Penny Miller, Clerk

This rule is effective March 1, 2005. This rule was amended, effective August 1, 2015March 1, 2019; August 11, 2021.

Effective Date Obsolete Date
08/11/2021 View
03/01/2019 08/11/2021 View
08/01/2015 03/01/2019 View
03/01/2005 08/01/2015 View