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Where can I find documents, forms and/or transcripts?
Thread poster: praviles
praviles
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 30, 2007

I'm preparing for my first court interpreting experience. It is a custody review case.

I was hoping someone could tell me where I could find transcripts or documents specifically related to custody cases.

My online search has been quite fruitless.

I would appreciate any ideas.

Thank you in advance!


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Joseph Ferran
Argentina
Local time: 10:17
Spanish to English
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WHERE CAN I FIND DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND/OR TRANSCRIPTS Jul 30, 2007

Dear fellow interpreter: I wish you good luck with your first assignment. However, I am a little worried for you. I hope that you at least went with another interpreter to see/her perfom an interpreting assignment. Court related work is a pretty delicate situation and if any of the attorneys (or Judge) involved in the case speaks the language that you are interpreting.... ¡watch out!
Have you ever performed any interpreting assignments before?
Are you a translator (written work)?
Regarding availability of documents, forms or transcripts: Perhaps you could ask the company that is sending for a ¨copy of the notice¨. The attorney involved in the case could also forward a copy of transcripts (prior depositions, hearings, etc) You should only ask the attorney that represents the person that you are interpreting for. Also, some of the cases (most) are public records. Court clerks could forward (at a low cost) copy of transcripts of case that are closed at the present time.



Best Regards,

Joseph Ferran

[Edited at 2007-07-30 23:35]

[Edited at 2007-07-31 01:42]


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Andrew Levine  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:17
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
suggestions Jul 31, 2007

praviles wrote:

I'm preparing for my first court interpreting experience. It is a custody review case.

I was hoping someone could tell me where I could find transcripts or documents specifically related to custody cases.

My online search has been quite fruitless.

I would appreciate any ideas.

Thank you in advance!


You can find free documents relating to child custody here:

http://family.findlaw.com/child-custody/

Transcripts of custody proceedings will be a bigger challenge (if not an impossibility) due to their private nature. Some U.S. states allow you to request a transcript of a specific proceeding, but for non-involved party, I would guess that they might deny the request (I'm not a lawyer and don't know for certain).

However, if you want to see if you can get sample proceedings with all identifying information redacted, it can't hurt to contact your state's Dept. of Justice. Be upfront with the reason for your request. Make it clear that you have been chosen to serve as an intepreter in an upcoming custody proceeding and that you only want redacted transcripts to study, to ensure that you do the best job possible.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:17
English to Spanish
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More Jul 31, 2007

I had given you some tips before. This kind of work takes some familiarity with the system, and fortunately when I started doing it I had already worked in the system, but you will have to gain it otherwise.

In addition to trying to meet with the caseworker and others before the hearing, you could even try to set an appointment with the caseworker beforehand which could be more fruitful.

You don't need documents, forms or transcripts, but you will need to learn some agency jargon and especially their acronyms and other "insider" terms, which they will throw at you heedlessly and leave you clueless if you are not careful. So you could ask the caseworker specifically about those items in addition to background on the case. Many things will be specific to the agency and location.

You could also ask about any other cases scheduled before yours that you could observe. I would advise you to meet the judge and gain the judge's cooperation to make sure you receive the conditions you need to do a proper job. For instance, "please speak up, Ms. Brown, we have an interpreter present who needs to hear you", and to make sure you are recognized and your role is clear.

I've even heard people say "who was that rude person who was talking in the courtroom while the hearing was going on?" So at least make sure that the judge and parties know who you are and why you are there.


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praviles
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 31, 2007

Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Your comments have been incredibly helpful.

Joseph:
Yes, I do have some interpreting and translating experience. I was an English teacher for two years. I worked with CEO's, CFO's and other heads of departments at several international companies, on a private basis. Aside from teaching, my job included translating documents and interpreting at meetings.

Then, I moved. For the past year, I have been working for a local interpreting agency where I am sent out on "assignments" to schools, law offices and clinics.

I realize that Court Interpreting is a whole different ball game. And, I'm trying to prep myself for what's coming.

I took the AOC training in NC and passed both screening tests. (9 out of 34 passed) For the past few months, I have been trying to get ready for the Oral Exam in October. But, out the blue, I got an offer to cover for someone at the county courthouse (the court contacted me directly, I'm registered). They seemed desperate, so I said yes.

I realize how serious this is. That is why I decided to try and get some pointers from the experts on this site.

Thank you very much for your advice and I appreciate your concern.

Andrew:
Thanks so much for the link. I called the Juvenile Dept. and you are right, I am not allowed to have a copy of the transcripts from previous proceedings due to, as you said, the private nature of the case. However, they did give me a bit of background info to keep in mind. I'm sure that'll help.

Thanks for your suggestions, Andrew.

Henry:
You have certainly given me great tips (last post and this one) and have helped me to get a real sense of what I can expect to happen there tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to observe any cases beforehand. (last minute situation) But, that is something that I definitely have on my to-do (asap) list.

I will definitely take your advice and get there early, introduce myself to the judge, if possible, and to the attorneys and parties involved and make sure everyone is clear as to my position and responsibilities.

I'm a bit nervous, but excited. Hey, there is a first time for everything!

Again, thank you all very much!


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