Court Order to File a Certificate of Interpretation for Translation of Complaints to the Complainant's Native Tongue

In People v. Banchs (173 Misc 2d 415 [1997]) during the pretrial stage of the action, the court learned that the complainants neither spoke nor read English. Such facts were undisputed. The court, within its discretion, ordered the People to serve and file a certificate of interpretation. (Supra, at 416.) On three subsequent adjourned dates, the People failed to provide the certificate. On the fourth date, the People moved to reargue the need for the certificate and ultimately that motion to reargue was granted. The Banchs court ruled that once it was presented with unchallenged indicia of the complainant's lack of understanding and ability to speak or read English, the verifications by the complainants on the corroborating affidavits became suspect. As a result, the court ordered the People to file a certificate of interpretation to confirm that the complaint was indeed translated to the complainants in their native tongue. Similar to Banchs (supra), in People v. Allen (166 Misc 2d 916 [1996]) and People v. Honshj (176 Misc 2d 170 [1998]), the courts considered whether the misdemeanor complaints were properly converted absent the submission of certificates of interpretation. In both cases, however, the courts found that the complaints were facially sufficient because defendants merely speculated that the complainants did not comprehend English and as such could not successfully challenge the propriety of the supporting depositions.