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Who can get an interpreter?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed July 2023

Anyone who needs an interpreter has the right to one.  If you need an interpreter to:

  • understand what is said, or
  • make yourself understood.

Courts and most public programs must give you a free interpreter.

It does not matter what your native language is, or what your immigration status is.

If it is difficult for you to understand or speak English, you have the right to a free interpreter at court and public offices.  You also have the right to important written information in your language.

What if I can speak a little bit of English?

You still have the right to an interpreter. If you are more comfortable in your native language than in English, you have the right to an interpreter. You need to understand everything your worker says, and your worker needs to understand everything that you say. Otherwise, there might be problems with your case.

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