When you’re working with ESL clients on depositions or other legal proceedings, you are bound by the Bar to communicate with them about their case as you would any other client. Achieving this goal can sometimes be challenging, however. To ensure your communication with your ESL client is adequate, in addition to the usual court reporters and other support services you work with on cases, you may also need to use interpreting services in San Jose for help. Use these tips to help you build better communication with your ESL clients.
Recognize the Degrees of Understanding
For many people, talking to an attorney and listening to legalese even in their own language is challenging. For ESL clients, the language you use as an attorney can be very unclear. Your clients may technically understand your words, but they may not grasp the full meaning of what you are saying. Don’t take your client’s word that they understand what you’ve said without ensuring that he or she doesn’t just understand the words but the implications as well. Consider simplifying your language and using lay terms to get your points across.
Provide Translations of Written Documents
There are many tools available for translating written documents, so consider using some of them to translate documents for your clients. Provide a copy of the document in English and then provide a translation. Doing so will help you ensure that your clients truly understand what the document addresses.
Hire an Interpreter
Don’t take a chance with your clients’ understanding of important issues in their cases. When you’re reviewing cases with ESL clients or preparing them for trials or depositions, hire an interpreter to ensure your communication is easy and effective. You can also use an interpreter during deposition or to help during trial testimony. Using an interpreter will help your ESL clients avoid confusion, even when being questioned by other attorneys.