“I’m a Florida court certified interpreter working freelance. That means that I do civil law, not criminal (staff interpreters handle criminal court), although there are times when I do get to go to jail to help attorneys communicate with their clients. I work mostly in state courts including civil, family, and workers compensation courts, but have also worked in federal civil court.
A few years ago on my first court assignment, I found myself in court having to speak to three plaintiffs in simultaneous mode. I was expected to speak softly enough not to interfere with the proceedings but loudly enough for them to hear me. I didn’t have any equipment and found that modulating my voice to let all three plaintiffs hear me without disturbing the attorney next to them was a bit tricky. I immediately saw the need for equipment, but being a newbie, let it go until I was in another courtroom with a plaintiff who had been injured. For me to be able to speak to him (again, without interfering with the proceedings) I spent three hours stretched over a table (some of the workers compensation courtrooms have limited space). Needless to say, my back reminded me for the following week that I shouldn’t have worked in that position! And I can tell you that that experience convinced me that equipment wasn’t optional, it was mandatory for court.