WSR 05-13-016



[ June 2, 2005 ]





NO. 25700-A-816

The Superior Court Judges' Association and the Washington State Bar Association having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendments to GR 11 and GR 11.2, and the Court having approved the proposed amendments for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby


(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendments as attached hereto are to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, Washington State Bar Association and Office of the Administrator for the Court's websites in January 2006.

(b) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than April 28, 2006. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 2nd day of June 2005.
For the Court
Gerry L. Alexander

Chief Justice



(a) To Assist Witnesses and Parties. The use of qualified interpreters is authorized in judicial proceedings involving hearing sensory-impaired or non-English speaking individuals.

(b) To Assist Jurors. The use of qualified interpreters is authorized in judicial proceedings involving competent and qualified jurors whose sensory-impairment would otherwise interfere with their ability to understand testimony and evidence, participate in deliberations and render a verdict.

(1) A qualified interpreter who serves in this capacity must abide by GR 11.2, refrain from expressing a personal opinion about any matter in connected to the case by any juror, and keep confidential all juror deliberations, unless directed otherwise by the court.

(2) Upon impaneling the jury, the court shall give the interpreter the following oath:

Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will make a true interpretation to the person serving as a juror of all the proceedings in a form or manner which the juror understands, to the best of your skill and judgment, and that you will assist the juror in communications with the court and other jurors as directed by the court, and that you will not express your personal opinion about any matter connected to this case to any juror, and that you will keep confidential all jury deliberations unless directed otherwise by the court.

RULE 11.2


PREAMBLE. All language interpreters serving in a legal proceeding, whether certified or uncertified, shall abide by the following Code of Conduct:

An language interpreter who violates any of the provisions of this code is subject to a citation for contempt, disciplinary action or any other sanction that may be imposed by law. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to establish and maintain high standards of conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of the adjudicative system.

(a) An language interpreter, like an officer of the court, shall maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct that promote public confidence in the administration of justice.

(b) A language interpreter shall interpret or translate the material thoroughly and precisely, adding or omitting nothing, and stating as nearly as possible what has been stated in the language of the speaker, giving consideration to variations in grammar and syntax for both languages involved. A language interpreter shall use the level of communication that best conveys the meaning of the source, and shall not interject the interpreters personal moods or attitudes.

(c) A sensory interpreter shall describe sensory information thoroughly and precisely, adding or omitting nothing, and describing as nearly as possible sensory information, whose absence would otherwise interfere with a sensory-impaired person's ability to participate in court proceedings. A sensory interpreter shall use the level of communication that best conveys the sensory information being presented, and shall not interject the interpreter's personal moods or attitudes.

(cd) When an language interpreter has any reservation about their ability to satisfy fulfill an assignment competently, the interpreter shall immediately convey that reservation to the parties and to the court. The interpreter shall notify the appointing authority or the court, if sensory information or If the communication mode or language of the non-English speaking person cannot be readily interpreted, the interpreter shall notify the appointing authority or the court.

(de) No language interpreter shall render services in any matter in which the interpreter is a potential witness, associate, friend, or relative of a contending party, unless a specific exception is allowed by the appointing authority for good cause noted on the record. Neither shall the interpreter serve in any matter in which the interpreter has an interest, financial or otherwise, in the outcome. Nor shall any language interpreter serve in a matter where the interpreter has participated in the choice of counsel.

(ef) Except in the interpreters official capacity, no language interpreter shall discuss, report, or comment upon a matter in which the person serves as interpreter. Interpreters shall not disclose any communication that is privileged by law without the written consent of the parties to the communication, or pursuant to court order.

(fg) An language interpreter shall report immediately to the appointing authority in the proceeding any solicitation or effort by another to induce or encourage the interpreter to violate any law, any provision of the rules which may be approved by the courts for the practice of language interpreting, or any provisions of this Code of Conduct.

(gh) Language iInterpreters shall not give legal advice and shall refrain from the unauthorized practice of law.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office