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Interpreter vs. Translator: U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision

Last updated on October 17th, 2016 at 12:53 pm

interpreter vs. translator

To further emphasize on the previous posts we published concerning the difference between a translator and an interpreter, we found three articles on the ATA website that discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on compensating litigants for interpretation services’ costs, an issue that was in dispute due to the Taniguchi vs. Kan Pacific Saipan lawsuit.

In the teeth of the conflicting views, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that: “because the ordinary meaning of the word ‘interpreter’ is a person who translates from one language to another, we hold that “compensation of interpreters” is limited to the cost of oral translation and does not include the cost of document translation.”

They based their decision on the Oxford Dictionary meaning of the word ‘interpreter’ even if some Justices filed a document stating that the ruling was inconsistent with the principle of the Court Interpreters Act of 1978, which ensures litigants who do not speak or read English the possibility of participating in legal cases.

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.