Order 11. Arkansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Interpreters in the Judiciary

Printer-friendly versionPDF version



   Many persons who come before the courts are partially or completely excluded from full participation in the proceedings due to limited English proficiency or a speech or hearing impairment. It is essential that the resulting communication barrier be removed, as far as possible, so that these persons are placed in the same position as similarly situated persons for whom there is no such barrier.1 As officers of the court, interpreters help assure that such persons may enjoy equal access to justice and that court proceedings and court support services function efficiently and effectively. Interpreters are highly skilled professionals who fulfill an essential role in the administration of justice. 

1. Non-English speaker should be able to understand just as much as an English speaker with the same level of education and intelligence. 


   This code shall guide and be binding upon all persons, agencies and organizations who administer, supervise use, or deliver interpreting services to the judiciary. 


Canon 1: Accuracy and Completeness.

Rules text

Interpreters shall render a complete and accurate interpretation or sight translation, without altering, omitting, or adding anything to what is stated or written, and without explanation. 


Canon 2: Representation of Qualifications.

Rules text
Interpreters shall accurately and completely represent their certifications, training, and pertinent experience. 


Canon 3: Impartiality and Avoidance of Conflict of Interest.

Rules text
Interpreters shall be impartial and unbiased and shall refrain from conduct that may give an appearance of bias. Interpreters shall disclose any real or perceived conflict of interest. 


Canon 4. Professional Demeanor.

Rules text
Interpreters shall conduct themselves in a matter consistent with the dignity of the court and shall be as unobtrusive as possible. 


Canon 5: Confidentiality.

Rules text
Interpreters shall protect the confidentiality of all privileged and other confidential information. 


Canon 6: Restriction of Public Comment.

Rules text
Interpreters shall not publicly discuss, report, or offer an opinion concerning a matter in which they are or have been engaged, even when that information is not privileged or required by law to be confidential. 


Canon 7: Scope of Practice.

Rules text
Interpreters shall limit themselves to interpreting or translating, and shall not give legal advice, express personal opinions to individuals for whom they are interpreting, or engage in any other activities which may be construed to constitute a service other than interpreting or translating while serving as an interpreter. 


Canon 8: Assessing and Reporting Impediments to Performance.

Rules text
Interpreters shall assess at all times their ability to deliver their services. When interpreters have any reservation about their ability to satisfy an assignment competently, they shall immediately convey that reservation to the appropriate judicial authority. 

Canon 9: Duty to Report Ethical Violations.

Rules text
Interpreters shall report to the proper judicial authority any effort to impede their compliance with any law, any provision of this code, or any other official policy governing court interpreting and legal translating. 

Canon 10: Professional Development.

Rules text
Interpreters shall continually improve their skills and knowledge and advance the profession through activities such as professional training and education, and interaction with colleagues and specialists in related fields.

History Text: 

History. Adopted December 3, 1998

Associated Court Rules: 
Administrative Orders