2015 ORS 45.275¹
Appointment of interpreter for non-English-speaking party, witness or victim
  • substitution
  • payment of costs

(1)(a) The court shall appoint a qualified interpreter in a civil or criminal proceeding, and a hearing officer or the designee of a hearing officer shall appoint a qualified interpreter in an adjudicatory proceeding, whenever it is necessary:

(A) To interpret the proceedings to a non-English-speaking party;

(B) To interpret the testimony of a non-English-speaking party or witness; or

(C) To assist the court, agency or hearing officer in performing the duties and responsibilities of the court, agency or hearing officer.

(b) The court shall appoint a qualified interpreter in a criminal proceeding whenever it is necessary to interpret the proceedings to a non-English-speaking victim who seeks to exercise in open court a right that is granted by Article I, section 42 or 43, of the Oregon Constitution, including the right to be present at a critical stage of the proceeding.

(2) A fee may not be charged to any person for the appointment of an interpreter to interpret testimony of a non-English-speaking party or witness, to interpret the proceedings to a non-English-speaking party or victim or to assist the court, agency or hearing officer in performing the duties and responsibilities of the court, agency or hearing officer. A fee may not be charged to any person for the appointment of an interpreter if appointment is made to determine whether the person is non-English-speaking for the purposes of this section.

(3) Fair compensation for the services of an interpreter appointed under this section shall be paid:

(a) By the county, subject to the approval of the terms of the contract by the governing body of the county, in a proceeding in a county or justice court.

(b) By the city, subject to the approval of the terms of the contract by the governing body of the city, in a proceeding in a municipal court.

(c) By the state in a proceeding in a circuit court. Amounts payable by the state are not payable from the Public Defense Services Account established by ORS 151.225 (Public Defense Services Account) or from moneys appropriated to the Public Defense Services Commission. Fees of an interpreter necessary for the purpose of communication between appointed counsel and a client or witness in a criminal case are payable from the Public Defense Services Account or from moneys appropriated to the Public Defense Services Commission.

(d) By the agency in an adjudicatory proceeding.

(4) If a party, victim or witness is dissatisfied with the interpreter appointed by the court, the hearing officer or the designee of the hearing officer, the party, victim or witness may request the appointment of a different interpreter. A request under this subsection must be made in a manner consistent with the policies and notice requirements of the court or agency relating to the appointment and scheduling of interpreters. If the substitution of another interpreter will delay the proceeding, the person making the request must show good cause for the substitution. Any party may object to use of any interpreter for good cause. Unless the court, hearing officer or the designee of the hearing officer has appointed a different interpreter for cause, the party using any interpreter other than the interpreter originally appointed by the court, hearing officer or the designee of the hearing officer shall bear any additional costs beyond the amount required to pay the original interpreter.

(5) A judge or hearing officer, on the judge’s or hearing officer’s own motion, may substitute a different interpreter for the interpreter initially appointed in a proceeding. A judge or hearing officer may make a substitution under this subsection at any time and for any reason.

(6) A court may allow as costs reasonable expenses incurred by a party in employing the services of an interpreter in civil proceedings in the manner provided by ORCP 68.

(7) A court, a hearing officer or the designee of a hearing officer shall require any person serving as an interpreter for the court or agency to state the person’s name on the record and whether the person is certified under ORS 45.291 (Certification program). If the person is certified under ORS 45.291 (Certification program), the interpreter need not make the oath or affirmation required by ORS 40.325 (Rule 604. Interpreters) or submit the interpreter’s qualifications on the record. If the person is not certified under ORS 45.291 (Certification program), the interpreter must make the oath or affirmation required by ORS 40.325 (Rule 604. Interpreters) and submit the interpreter’s qualifications on the record.

(8) For the purposes of this section:

(a) "Hearing officer" includes an administrative law judge.

(b) "Non-English-speaking person" means a person who, by reason of place of birth or culture, speaks a language other than English and does not speak English with adequate ability to communicate effectively in the proceedings.

(c) "Qualified interpreter" means a person who is readily able to communicate with the non-English-speaking person and who can orally transfer the meaning of statements to and from English and the language spoken by the non-English-speaking person. A qualified interpreter must be able to interpret in a manner that conserves the meaning, tone, level, style and register of the original statement, without additions or omissions. "Qualified interpreter" does not include any person who is unable to interpret the dialect, slang or specialized vocabulary used by the party, victim or witness. [1991 c.750 §2; 1993 c.687 §8; 1995 c.273 §16; 1997 c.872 §18; 1999 c.1041 §4; 2001 c.242 §1; 2001 c.962 §§65,66; 2003 c.75 §§77,78; 2005 c.385 §2; 2012 c.107 §39; 2015 c.155 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Interpreta­tion of recording need not be contemporaneous with playing of recording in court. State v. Gonzales-Gutierrez, 216 Or App 97, 171 P3d 384 (2007), Sup Ct review denied

Provision does not require appoint­ment of interpreter for non-English-speaking juror, and prospective jurors may be dismissed on basis that they do not speak English. State v. Haugen, 349 Or 174, 243 P3d 31 (2010)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 45—Testimony Generally, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors045.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 45, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano045.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.