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New York is a diverse community of 62 counties with unique linguistic challenges. Aware of this reality, the NYS Unified Court System (UCS) remains committed to improve access to justice for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals so they may effectively participate in all aspects of the court. The New York State courts provide interpreting services for court users, at no expense to the person with limited English proficiency, regardless of their level of ability to communicate in the spoken English language.
Pursuant to Part 217 of the Uniform Rules for NYS Trial Courts (and Judiciary Law section 390 regarding sign language interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing), the court will provide interpreting services free of charge, in both criminal and civil matters, for all participants in the process including defendants, parties, witnesses, victims and those who utilize non-courtroom services provided by the court.
The Office of Language Access (OLA) assists to ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency have access to the courts. OLA oversees the practical, policy, technical and operational aspects of court interpreting services to improve delivery of language services to court users.
Concerns about or problems with court interpreting services should be raised as soon as possible. If a problem with interpreting occurs during a court proceeding, the issue should be raised with the judge or court manager, so that it can be immediately addressed. When that is not possible, it is recommended that UCS Office of Language Access be notified of the matter, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 646-386-5670.
For more information about complaints and concerns regarding language access and court interpreting services, please see our Complaints & Concerns page.