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Message From the DirectorAbout This GuideResources
Publication Date: April 2009
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Advocates as Interpreters

Only qualified individuals should serve as interpreters. Nevertheless, sexual assault victim advocates who are fluent in languages other than English are sometimes asked by police, prosecutors, and other professionals to provide interpretive services for victims. In these cases, even if the advocate is a qualified interpreter, it can be difficult to maintain the boundary between the interpreter's role and the sexual assault victim advocate's confidential role. For example, just as a sexual assault victim advocate is accountable to the victim, a court interpreter is accountable to the court. However, if an advocate serves as an interpreter, the advocate becomes a part of the investigative process and may end up having to testify against the best interest of the victim. Thus, an advocate must not serve as both sexual assault victim advocate and interpreter, and must explain the possible consequences to the victim before ever serving as both advocate and interpreter.

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