New Code of Conduct for Washington State Judiciary Interpreters

Along the path of our skilled professions and amongst the passing of time we take our hats off and thank those individuals who work so hard advocating for our daily presence either translating or interpreting in a breadth of settings throughout the world. It is through their baby steps and consistent moving forward do they achieve what you are about to read…

Roxane King

ATA ID Content Blog Editor


[Wooden gavel - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash]A new code of ethics for court interpreters was unanimously approved by the Supreme Court of Washington State. The new code covers all interpreters (whether credentialed or not) working for the judiciary, both in spoken and sign languages. The goal was to provide a current, accurate, and more comprehensive code for interpreters, as well as for those who rely upon interpreters.

Read the new Code of Professional Responsibility for Judiciary Interpreters here. The changes achieve the following:

  1. It removes and/or rewords ambiguous and/or incorrect statements.
  2. It expands the provisions of this code to pertain to sign-language as well as spoken-language interpreters.
  3. It clarifies that the code applies to all interpreters serving in the judiciary regardless of certification or lack thereof and in doing so, aligns with the suggested language changes to GR 11.1.
  4. It is written in a format that is more accessible to all users, providing specific guiding ethical canons.
  5. It uses the plural form “interpreters” along with the pronoun “they” to obviate the need for a gendered pronoun, the awkward he/she format or repetition of the subject noun.
  6. It includes extensive commentary that provides users with explicit guidance to aid in appropriately handling issues of interpretation in the complex and multifaceted aspects of legal proceedings.
  7. It supports interpreters in their efforts to fully and properly execute their professional responsibilities.

Drafting workgroup:

  • —Milena Calderari-Waldron, WA Court Certified Spanish Interpreter (2004 – present)
  • Emma Garkavi, WA Court Certified Russian Interpreter (1996 – present)
  • Linda Noble, WA Court Certified Russian Interpreter (1996 – present)
  • Lynne Lumsden, RID SC:L Certified ASL Interpreter (1991 – 2017)
  • Sofia Garcia-Bayaert, PhD, Spanish Interpreter and co-author of The Community Interpreter International
  • Consulted with Katrin Johnson, a trilingual attorney and former court interpreter program manager in Minnesota and Washington State

The workgroup worked for 19 months to completely re-write the 30-year old Code of Conduct for Washington State’s court interpreters. 

The new code was first unveiled to the T&I community at the ATA 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans during the presentation titled “Trials and Tribulations of updating the Code of Conduct for Court Interpreters”.


The ATA Interpreters Division


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