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What does an interpreter do?

Produced by Massachusetts Language Access Coalition
Reviewed August 2023

It is the interpreter’s job to help you communicate with the program. Interpreters are professionals. They speak both your language and English fluently.

An interpreter’s job is to:

  • tell you what program staff say to you;
  • tell the program staff what you are saying;
  • tell you the questions that program forms ask;
  • translate your words into English on the forms.

An interpreter cannot:

  • add anything, change anything or leave anything out of what you or staff say;
  • accept any money or gifts from you;
  • have personal conversations with you;
  • share any information about your case with anyone else;
  • take sides or give you his or her opinions about your case.

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