South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 15 - Civil Remedies and Procedures
Trial and Certain Incidents Thereof
SECTION 15-27-15. Interpreters for deaf person who is party to legal proceeding, witness therein, or confined to any institution.
(A) Whenever a deaf person is a party or witness in any legal proceeding including, but not limited to, a civil or criminal proceeding, a family court proceeding, an action involving a traffic violation, or other criminal matter heard in magistrates court, or is confined to an institution, the court must appoint as many qualified interpreters or deaf relay interpreters as needed and are approved by the South Carolina Association of the Deaf. The interpreter must be approved by the deaf person and either the South Carolina Association of the Deaf and the South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf to interpret the proceedings to and the testimony of the deaf person, unless the deaf person waives having a qualified interpreter, elects to use another individual of his own selection as his interpreter, or the judge finds that it is not necessary for the fulfillment of justice. If a person elects to use an interpreter other than a qualified interpreter provided for in this section, the court must first make a determination that this action is in the best interest of the individual and is in the best interests of justice. The selection, use, and reimbursement of interpreters must be determined under such guidelines as may be established by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. All fees for interpreting services must be paid out of the general fund of the State from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department for this purpose by the General Assembly.
(B) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Qualified interpreter" means a person eighteen years of age or older who has been certified by the South Carolina Association of the Deaf Interpreter Assessment Program (SCAD-IAP Level IV or V) or the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and who has received approval from the South Carolina Association of the Deaf and who is not a family member of the deaf person.
(2) "Deaf person" means a person who cannot use his hearing for communication purposes.
(C) In an action where the mental condition of a deaf person is being considered and where the person may be committed to an institution, all the court proceedings pertaining to the person must be interpreted to the deaf person in a language that the person understands by a qualified interpreter appointed by the court.
HISTORY: 1987 Act No. 97 Section 1; 1996 Act No. 365, Section 1; 1998 Act No. 390, Section 3; 2001 Act No. 103, Section 1.
SECTION 15-27-155. Interpreter for party or witness unable to speak English; qualified interpreter defined; fees; centralized list; use of interpreter not on list.
(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever a party or witness to a civil legal proceeding does not sufficiently speak the English language to testify, the court may appoint a qualified interpreter to interpret the proceedings and the testimony of the party or witness. However, the court may waive the use of a qualified interpreter if the court finds that it is not necessary for the fulfillment of justice. The court must first make a finding on the record that the waiver of a qualified interpreter is in the best interest of the party or witness and that this action is in the best interest of justice.
(B) An "interpreter" means a person who:
(1) is eighteen years of age or older;
(2) is not a family member of the party or witness;
(3) is an instructor of foreign language at an institution of education; or
(4) has educational training or experience that enables him or her to fluently speak a foreign language and interpret the language of another person.
An "interpreter" shall not be a person confined to an institution.
(C)(1) The selection, use, and reimbursement of interpreters must be determined under such guidelines as may be established by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;
(2) The fees for interpreting services may be:
(a) paid out of the general fund of the State from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department for this purpose by the General Assembly;
(b) paid by one or more of the parties as the court may direct; or
(c) taxed ultimately as costs based on the discretion of the court.
(D) The Division of Court Administration shall maintain a centralized list of qualified interpreters to interpret the proceedings to and testimony of a party or witness. A party or a witness is not precluded from using a qualified interpreter who is not on the centralized list as long as the interpreter meets the requirements of subsection (B) and submits a sworn affidavit to the court specifying his or her qualifications.
HISTORY: 1998 Act No. 390, Section 2; 2001 Act No. 103, Section 2.