The Difference Between Interpreters and Translators

Card image cap


Interpreters receive a message from a source and speak in the target language to deliver the message at the same time as the original speaker, immediately after the speaker finishes, or speaking a written message.

Card image cap


Translators work with written texts including, forms, certificates, letters, orders, and contracts. They consult resources, learn the purpose of the translation, and identify the intended audience so they can best translate a message.

How to Request an Interpreter

Attorneys will file a petition requesting a court interpreter for their clients. If you are representing yourself, the Law Library Resource Center provides a form to request an interpreter and specify the language and region/variation needed. Once the Court grants your request for an interpreter, the Court Interpreters and Translators will be notified, and the department will make every reasonable effort to grant your request.

How to Get a Court Interpreter (English)



Cómo solicitar un intérprete (Español)



كيفية الحصول على خدمات مترجم المحكمة الشفوي (Arabic)



How to Use an Interpreter

When speaking with an interpreter, look at the person you are speaking to rather than the interpreter. For example, rather than turning to the interpreter and saying, “Ask the judge when my next court hearing is,” simply look at the judge and ask, “When is my next court hearing?” Do not ask the interpreter for advice about your case. An interpreter must remain a neutral party for ethical reasons.

A Court Interpreter Will

  • The court interpreter may hand you a set of headphones and a receiver, so you can listen directly to the rendition in a language you can understand. An interpreter may also choose to stand or sit close to you and whisper the rendition for you to hear without using equipment.
  • The court interpreter will help you communicate with your lawyer, court personnel, and the judge during your proceeding.
  • The court interpreter will attempt to communicate exactly what each speaker is saying. The court interpreter will interpret everything that is said, without adding, omitting, or changing anything.

A Court Interpreter Will Not

  • The court interpreter will not give you legal or any other advice.
  • The court interpreter will not answer questions about the law or the legal process.
  • The court interpreter will not explain what words mean or what is happening in court.
  • The court interpreter will not talk to you about your case.
  • The court interpreter will not have private conversations with you or your family.

Card image cap

Language Identification Guide

Use this guide to identify your language for court assistance.

View Language Identification Guide
Card image cap

Limited English Proficiency Plan

Our plan to assist individuals with limited English proficiency.

Limited English Proficiency Plan for Title VI Compliance

Filing a Complaint?

If you believe you have not been provided effective language assistance for any court or probation proceeding or other service provided by the court, please complete a Language Access to Court Services Complaint Form and return it to:

Department Administrator Court Interpretation and Translation Services
Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County
175 W. Madison Street, 12th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Court Interpretation and Translation Services Department Leadership

Dr. Christopher Bleuenstein

Department Administrator

Contact Court Interpretation and Translation Services