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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Woodlands Criminal Defense Attorney - Texas Rules of Evidence Series RULE 604

The Woodlands Texas Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley

Texas Rule of Evidence 604 is a very simple and straightforward rule which merely requires that an interpreter be qualified and give an oath or affirmation to make a true translation. This is very similar to the general oath that witnesses take but relates to the interpretation from one language to another of the statements of a witness and the other participants.

In Texas most instances of the use of a court interpreter occurs translating between English and Spanish. If there is a jury trial then there is a need to interpret for the defendant to be able to understand all of the statements coming from the various participants in the litigation and there could be the need to interpret witness testimony as well.

Interpreters are not mere translators. They interpret meaning in the statements from a defendant or witness and then do their best to give the party receiving the interpretation the picture or mental image that the person making the statement is trying to put forth.

An interpreter is necessary only when a party or witness speaks or understands little or no english. Flores v. State, 509 S.W.2d 580, 581 (Tex. Crim. App. 1974).

An interpreter should also not be treated as a separate participant. The attorney's should simply ask their questions to the witness. Instead of using phrases like "Ask him if he was there that night" an attorney would simply ask, "Where you there that night" or "You were there that night?" if on cross examination. (Because you always lead the witness on cross).

Rule 604. Interpreter An interpreter must be qualified and must give an oath or affirmation to make a true translation.


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