Staff and freelance court interpreters who provide language access services to the Kentucky Court of Justice in court proceedings or during other judicial interactions are referred to in Kentucky as "sworn proceedings interpreters." Sworn proceedings interpreters are ethically bound to work within very specific parameters when providing services to Kentucky's courts. Such interpreters have taken an oath to provide complete, unbiased, and accurate interpretation between English speakers and parties, jurors, witnesses, or non-parties with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing or otherwise disabled.
Sworn proceedings interpreters are impartial officers of the court and may not participate in the facilitation of confidential, privileged, or otherwise private communication between non-Court of Justice individuals, agencies, or entities and individuals with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing or otherwise disabled. It is crucial that judges, court personnel, attorneys, and parties understand and support the unique role that sworn proceedings interpreters play in the judicial process, including the sworn proceedings interpreter's obligation to deny the facilitation of confidential, privileged, or otherwise private communication between attorneys and their clients.
Because the users of court interpreting services frequently misunderstand the proper role of the sworn proceedings interpreter, they may ask or expect the sworn proceedings interpreter to perform duties or engage in activities that run counter to the code of ethics or other laws, regulations, or policies governing sworn proceedings interpreters. If this happens, the sworn proceedings interpreter must inform such persons of his or her professional obligations and limitations. If, having been apprised of these obligations and limitations, the person persists in demanding that the sworn proceedings interpreter violate them, the sworn proceedings interpreter should consult with the Executive Officer or Manager of the Office of Language Access, a language access liaison, a judge, or another official with authority over language access matters to resolve the situation.