Who can be an interpreter during the interview?

Last update: February 21, 2018

What is an interpreter?

A person who provides an oral translation between speakers who speak different languages.

What is the difference between an interpreter and a translator?

A translator interprets written text, while an interpreter translates orally.

What are the key characteristics U.S. government agencies want in an interpreter?

The interpreter…

  1. must be sufficiently fluent in both English and in the applicant’s language
  2. able to interpret competently between English and the interviewee’s language
  3. able to interpret impartially and without bias (a bias is when somebody has already made up their mind about a matter)

Who cannot be an interpreter?

Generally, U.S. immigration agencies do not want the following people to act as interpreters:

  1. anybody who is 17 years old or younger
  2. anybody who is a witness in the applicant’s immigration case
  3. attorneys and accredited representatives of applicants

Are there exceptions to the rules guiding who can be and cannot be an interpreter?

Not for people who are 13 years old or younger and not for attorneys and accredited representatives, but exceptions can be made for the other categories.

On what basis are exceptions to the rules guiding who can be and cannot be interpreter made?

The reasons why revolve around avoiding delays for the applicant, the use of a rare language, confidential medical or protected information, and certain developmental disabilities of the applicant.