Interpreters and Bankruptcy Proceedings
Through the years our Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys have ran into situations where a client is unable to speak English or they may be unable to speak at all and then an interpreter is needed for the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors or for a hearing in front of the bankruptcy judge. In a few cases, the bankruptcy trustee has provided an interpreter at the Meeting of Creditors. Generally though interpreter services have not been usually available with the Meeting of Creditors or bankruptcy court, and we have had our clients bring someone with them who can interpret for them. This might be someone who can use sign language or who can interpret the language in which our client speaks. There has been no set pattern that we have noticed and it varies case-to-case.
At The Sellers Law Firm, we have found that the best idea is for us to contact the bankruptcy trustee or the judge's secretary when the use of an interpreter is needed. There are three reasons that we do this. First, we can confirm that interpretation services are available at this particular court’s location. Second, we can make sure that an interpreter is available for that particular language on that particular day. Finally, if there is no interpreter available at this court’s particular location we can make arrangements with our client to bring an interpreter to court with him/her. In our experience most clients have a family member or friend who is available to interpret. Also by notifying the court or notifying the bankruptcy trustee we put the trustee on notice that our particular hearing may take slightly longer due to the time it will take to interpret either by sign language or by that client’s particular language. In very rare instances, we have seen the bankruptcy trustee or the judge use an interpretation service to help with the hearings. In these situations the bankruptcy trustee usually calls the interpretation service on the phone and places the service on a speakerphone and starts the meeting. The Interpreter translates what each person says into English and then responds in kind with the questions that are asked by any attorneys, the bankruptcy trustee, or judge. This does require a little bit more time than the standard Section 341 Meeting of Creditors or a hearing in front of the bankruptcy judge.
Our Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys have also had some clients who understand some English, but they aren't fluent enough to understand what is said in the formal court-like setting or of a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. These clients might be able to converse with our attorneys in order to prepare the petition and documents that are needed for the bankruptcy case, but they become nervous and aren't fluent enough for a court setting. It is the desire of all parties involved to make sure that the debtor understands what is being asked by the bankruptcy trustee and can answer in English. To help avoid any confusion that might occur these actions aren't meant to embarrass the debtor, but are simply required to establish a complete record for the court's proceedings. When we have clients face this situation, we always err on the side of caution and bring an interpreter with us. By doing this we make sure that our client understands everything that is going on at the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors or in a court hearing.
At The Sellers Law Firm, we want to make all accommodations necessary for our clients! We know that each and every client is unique, and we treat each case in a unique manner. We have four offices which are located Montgomery, Selma, Greenville, and Troy. All consultations are always free, and we can usually see you within 24 hours. Please call at 334-LAWYERS (529-9377) to set an appointment to meet our team. You may also reach us by using the “text us” link and Contact Form on our website. Remember that doing nothing, changes nothing so act today!