Snyder: Distant Mediation for Non-English Audio system| Staff Compensation Information

By Teddy Snyder

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 16 | 0 | min read

You are ready for your remote video exchange. Everyone has the latest version of the technology and knows how to join. You have rehearsed with your client; Perhaps you did a practice lesson with the mediator. You have submitted the confidentiality form for mediation and the contact form. Now you can focus on the facts and the law.

Teddy Snyder

Wait – what about the interpreter?

At the beginning of every telephone exchange, I confirm that everyone present has signed the confidentiality agreement. But sometimes someone else is there against all the rules. Often it is a family member who “is only there to interpret”.

It’s inconvenient, but maybe not a big problem. Just like in a face-to-face meeting, someone involved in mediation can perform the confidentiality attestation at the last minute. However, some family members decline documented participation in legal proceedings. Sometimes the party lacks the technology to immediately return a signed document.

As a rule, the lawyer can interpret for the client. Of course, the lawyer is bound by confidentiality rules, but this agreement often leaves out some steps.

Get the customer what they need

An English language confidentiality agreement concluded by a party who clearly needs an interpreter raises questions. Did the customer sign a document without understanding it? If the lawyer or family member is interpreting, this should be documented in the agreement. The person interpreting should sign in a language similar to “I translated this document and read it to the plaintiff in Spanish”.

The settlement agreement

Lawyers on both sides of the dispute should be concerned about the validity of an English language settlement agreement if one or more of the signatories are not fluent in English. Nobody wants to go to court retrospectively because someone denies the agreement. The document should be read to the non-English speaker and the interpreter must disclose and sign off the reference document.

Ideally, attorneys will also provide a written translation of the document. Google Translate can do it quickly, but not necessarily with 100% accuracy.

The ultimate protection is to have a certified court interpreter via video or phone and at the time of signing the settlement document.

Attorney Teddy Snyder mediates compensation cases for workers across California. She can be contacted via

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