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TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment on a proposed rule that will require foreign language court interpreters to complete a free online orientation program before providing services in Kansas courts.

Language in proposed Supreme Court Rule 1705 will establsh a requirement that foreign language court interpreters complete the Kansas Judicial Branch Court Interpreter Orientation before providing interpretation or translation service in a district court, althought a judge can make an exception in the case of an emergency.

The free web-based orientation provides an overview of interpretation skills, best practices, ethics, and the Kansas court system. Completing the orientation will become a requirement for foreign language interpreters six months after the proposed rule takes effect.

The proposed rule does not apply to sign language interpreters or interpreters who provide interpretation services from a remote location outside of Kansas.

Under the proposed rule, interpreters must provide a copy of their certificate of orientation completion to a judicial district's local language access coordinator. The certificate will not substitute for a judicial determination of an interpreter's qualifications or for taking an interpreter's oath.

The proposed rule also creates new duties for local language access coordinators and Office of Judicial Administration staff, including noting and retaining interpreters' certificates of completion. Orientation registration information will be provided on the Kansas judicial branch website. 

Comment may be made by email to publiccomments@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Friday, October 30, 2020. The subject line must read "Rule 1705."

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