Jury Trial Interpreters



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ARTICLE XI
JURY TRIAL INTERPRETERS

Section 1. Court Interpreters for Jury Trials. Each jury trial court shall employ a court certified interpreter and vice versa from English and Tagalog into the local dialect or vernacular commonly spoken and understood by the jurors of their jury court district. The position of jury trial interpreters shall be professionalized and properly certified. The certification shall be issued by the executive judge of said jury court district. To qualify for certification, the applicant for interpreter shall satisfy the following requirements:

a) A holder of any bachelor’s degree in an accredited college or university and citizen of the Philippines. The clerk of court shall invite an unlimited number of applicants to submit their applications to the position of the jury trial interpreter in the trial courts of his judicial district and in which he shall state the rate of pay to the position of the trial jury interpreter.

b) He must be proficient in English, Tagalog, and the local vernacular in the judicial district of the court where he will serve as a jury trial interpreter;

c) He shall pass a written interpreting examination for which he shall be given at least 30 days to prepare prior to the date of the examination. The examination questions shall be formulated with emphasis towards learning the commonly used jury instruction words, and legal terminologies in court proceedings and phrases for interpreting into the local vernacular and vice versa by a committee of five members. The committee shall be composed of the presiding judge of the court, where the chosen interpreter will serve, a government prosecutor and three private practicing attorneys as members in the same judicial district.

d) The applicant-examinee who obtains a grade of 75 or higher in the written examination shall be interviewed and he must show excellent ability to interpret contemporaneously before the committee that shall then choose by secret ballot at least ten (10) of the applicants with the highest grades the committee considers best qualified for contemporaneous interpreter’s position.

e) The names of the qualified applicants who have passed the interview for the interpreter’s position shall be entered in the lottery container from which one applicant’s name shall promptly be drawn in the presence of all the applicants who passed the interview and who will be appointed as the regular jury interpreter appointee. The rest of the names shall be kept for three years for future lottery drawings for appointment in the event the regular appointee is unable to continue to serve or in the event a vacancy needs to be filled or an additional interpreter will be needed. If there are other trial courts within the district that require interpreters, the respective vacancies for such courts may be filled in by picking the name by lottery from the remaining qualified interpreters. All future drawing of names shall be conducted in the presence of the prospective qualified interpreters who shall be informed in writing for such purpose. Appointing an interpreter without going through this lottery process shall be null and void.

Section 2. The interpreter’s rate of pay shall be recommended by the presiding judge of the court in which the appointee shall serve.

Section 3. An interpreter shall be held to the highest standard of confidentiality and shall be subject to decertification for violation of this proscription. Unless required by the court in a proceeding held for the purpose of restating any matter he has interpreted in a court proceeding, an interpreter shall neither voluntarily reveal nor shall be forced to reveal on any information he acquired, officially or privately, while being employed as a court interpreter.

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