Deposition Interpreters

February 11, 2016

Deposition Interpreters for Taking Depositions of Limited-English Speaking Individuals

A deposition is the process of giving sworn evidence. Depositions are common within the legal system. Deposition interpreters are utilized for a variety of cases including medical device tort claims and personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.

3 Steps for Deposition Interpreter Success

There are several steps one should take to ensure that the deposition interpreter is prepared for success and that the interpreted deposition is accurate and useful.

  1. Prep the interpreter.
  2. Issue the oath.
  3. Decide on interpreting mode — consecutive or simultaneous.

Prep the Interpreter.

Prepping the interpreter is rule #1 for all interpreting assignments. Depositions are no exception. Deposition interpreters must be provided with background information, names, dates and pertinent vocabulary well before the deposition begins so that they are adequately prepared for the rigorous assignment. Interpreter preparation does in no way mean that the interpreter is less qualified or “not as good.” In fact, all professionally trained interpreters will demand on preparation material in advance so they can perform to their highest ability.

Issue the Oath.

Make sure the court reporter swears in the interpreter with the following oath: Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will accurately translate from English into _____ and from  _____ into English to the best of your ability?
Upon confirming, the interpreter should interpret the oath to the non-English speaking deponent so that she fully understands the role and responsibility of the interpreter. The court reporter will then ask the interpreter to have the witness raise their right hand and will administer the standard oath. Deposition interpreters will also convey to all parties what their role and responsibilities are outside of the oath,

Decide on Interpreting Mode.

There are several different interpreting modes and the two most common interpreting modes for depositions are consecutive and simultaneous modes. Consecutive interpreting is when one person speaks at a time in short sentences. The interpreter uses her memory and note taking skills to interpret the sentences into the other language and waits for the response to interpret the answer. Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter is interpreting at the same time the speaker is speaking. This is a skill that requires training and practice and can be very useful in a variety of settings. Typically simultaneous interpreters use electronic interpreting headsets and microphones so that the audience can focus on the interpreted content. Depositions interpreters will usually guide the parties involved in taking the deposition to decide what mode is preferred. Sometimes court reporters prefer the consecutive interpreting mode because it makes their task of recording all uttered content easier while some find the simultaneous interpreting mode takes less time and less cumbersome.


INGCO International based in Minnesota has over 15 years of deposition interpreting experience across the world. While many depositions take place in the United States, many of our interpreters travel internationally for complex legal cases that require extensive interpretation services. We look forward to working with you to provide certified and professional interpreting services in all languages across the globe.