Pursuant to §19.2-164 of the Virginia Code, the Circuit Court will appoint interpreters in all criminal cases involving non-English speaking defendants, victims and witnesses. This also includes sign language interpreters for the hearing impaired.
To request an interpreter, please contact the Criminal Docket Clerk in the Docketing Division at (703) 246-4946. You should provide the Criminal Docket Clerk with the Defendant’s name, the case number, the date of the hearing, and the type of interpreter needed. A request for an interpreter should be made at least one week in advance of the hearing date.
To request a sign language interpreter or CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) please contact the Interpreter Coordinator directly at (703) 246-2221 (TTY 703-352-4139 through Virginia Relay 711). Requests for sign language interpreters or CART should be made at least 3 weeks in advance.
Attorneys are not to request specific interpreters, unless that attorney has made separate arrangements for the payment of the interpreter. The Court will not provide payment for any interpreter who has been hired directly by counsel rather than by the Court.
Interpreters for Jail Visits
Attorneys are responsible for the scheduling of interpreters for jail visits. The attorney can contact any interpreter on the Circuit Court’s approved interpreter list to complete the jail visit. Please note that the interpreter who interprets for the jail visit is not automatically assigned to that case to interpret in subsequent court proceedings.
Many people who come before the courts are partially or completely excluded from full participation in the proceedings due to limited English proficiency or a speech or hearing impairment. It is essential that the resulting communication barrier be removed, as far as possible, so that these persons are placed in the same position as similarly situated persons for whom there is no such barrier. As officers of the court, interpreters help assure that these people enjoy equal access to justice and that court proceedings and court support services function efficiently and effectively. Interpreters are highly skilled professionals who fulfill an essential role in the administration of justice.