Use of an Interpreter at Trial
New October 8, 2010
[You will recall that <insert
names of all such witnesses> testified through an interpreter.] [In this
case, <insert names of all such witnesses> will testify through an
interpreter.] Our courts are open to everyone, regardless of their ability to
understand and speak English. You are to draw no inference for or against any
witness who (has offered/offers) testimony through an interpreter.
Some of you may speak or
understand the language used by the witness(es). Nevertheless, you must treat
the interpreter’s English translation of the witness’ answers as evidence. Even
if you think that the interpreter makes a mistake, you must base your
deliberations only on the official translation. What the witness(es) may have
said in the foreign language, prior to the interpreter’s translation, is not
evidence, and may not be considered by you in any way in your deliberations.
This ensures that all jurors consider the same evidence.
United States v.
Fuentes-Montijo, 68 F.3d 352, 355
(9th Cir. 1995); Diaz v. State, 743 A.2d 1166, 1179 (Del. 1999);
People v. Colon, 211 A.D.2d 575, 621 N.Y.S.2d 606, appeal denied, 85 N.Y.2d
971, 653 N.E.2d 627, 629 N.Y.S.2d 731 (1995).
This charge should be given
before the foreign language witness testifies or at the beginning of trial. Judges should use their discretion in determining whether also to give this
charge before the jury begins its deliberations.