Guidelines for Interpretation at Court Proceedings

Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation in The Court of Workers' Compensation Claims

Your words matter. To ensure fairness, the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims has adopted these guidelines where a party is a limited English proficient person. Before the hearing begins, all participants should review these guidelines.

Qualifications: All interpreters must be state-certified or state-registered, unless the judge has waived this requirement. The judge will administer an oath that the interpreter will make a true and impartial interpretation.


1. For the Interpreter

  • Interpret consecutively, not simultaneously.
  • Interpret completely and accurately, and ask the meaning of any unknown word(s).
  • Do not add, leave out, or change any statements. Do not summarize. Ask questions of the judge when appropriate, or if you need a break.
  • Be impartial and do not give advice.
  • Disclose any conflicts of interest.

2. For the limited English proficient participant

  • Speak slowly.
  • Say one sentence; then stop, and allow the interpreter to interpret. Resume speaking when the interpreter has stopped.
  • Speak in only one language.
  • Ask the meaning of any unknown word(s) to ensure proper interpretation.
  • Inform the judge of any cultural misunderstandings.
  • Notify the judge immediately if something seems wrong with the interpretation, e.g. it is too fast, you do not understand and need clarification, or it is inaccurate.
  • You may ask the judge to stop the interpretation at any time if you reasonably believe the interpretation is inaccurate.

3. For all parties and counsel

  • Direct comments or questions to the limited English proficient participant instead of the interpreter.