Can I bring my own interpreter?

Produced by Attorney Kendra Sena, Massachusetts Language Access Coalition
Created June 2015

A program must not ask you to bring someone to interpret for you, or ask a friend or relative you brought with you to interpret.

You may bring your own interpreter if you want to.  But, if your friend is not a professional interpreter, it can cause problems. 

Professional interpreters are fluent in both languages. They interpret directly and clearly everything that you and program staff say.  Professional interpreters follow rules about interpreting.  And they keep your information private.

Do not ask a child to interpret.  The message may be too sensitive or delicate – not for a child’s ears. Also, a child is not a reliable interpreter. Children may not be able to understand all the words in English or in your language.  It is not fair to you or your child to ask him to interpret. Protect your child and yourself.  Demand a professional interpreter.

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