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The Interpreter

What are the responsibilities of an interpreter?
The language of the court is German. The interpreter interprets the language of the court into a different language and vice-versa. Interpreters are used during questionings, hearings and for translating documents required for the investigation and to ascertain the facts and circumstances of the crime.

Who is entitled to an interpreter?
Every victim entitled to pursue private accessory prosecution, summoned witnesses and the defendant are entitled to an interpreter, to the extent that they require an interpreter to exercise their rights during the criminal proceedings. There is no right to demand the translation of all files. The costs of this are borne by the state. In particular, this right includes the presence of an interpreter during the trial, but the victim and the defendant must also be provided with an interpreter to help with the preparation of the main proceedings or related procedural acts.

How can deaf or mute persons follow the proceedings?
A deaf or mute person has the option of communicating with the court verbally, in writing or with the help of a person who is able to facilitate communication. The court will generally use an interpreter for sign language.

Who can be appointed an interpreter?
The court decides at its own discretion who to appoint as an interpreter. In general, any person can be appointed as interpreter as long as they are capable of the court’s official language, fluent in another language, and have passed an official interpreting test. During criminal proceedings, the public purse will usually bear the cost. Interpreters swear an oath that they will be diligent in interpreting and that they will keep secret anything they learn in the course of their work.