(1) Whenever because of a hearing, speech, or other impairment a party to or witness in a legal proceeding cannot readily understand or communicate, the court shall appoint a qualified interpreter to assist such person. Before appointing any interpreter under this division for a party or witness who is a mentally retarded person or developmentally disabled person, the court shall evaluate the qualifications of the interpreter and shall make a determination as to the ability of the interpreter to effectively interpret on behalf of the party or witness that the interpreter will assist, and the court may appoint the interpreter only if the court is satisfied that the interpreter is able to effectively interpret on behalf of that party or witness.
(2) This section is not limited to a person who speaks a language other than English. It also applies to the language and descriptions of any mentally retarded person or developmentally disabled person who cannot be reasonably understood, or who cannot understand questioning, without the aid of an interpreter. The interpreter may aid the parties in formulating methods of questioning the person with mental retardation or a developmental disability and in interpreting the answers of the person.
(B) Before entering upon official duties, the interpreter shall take an oath that the interpreter will make a true interpretation of the proceedings to the party or witness, and that the interpreter will truly repeat the statements made by such party or witness to the court, to the best of the interpreter's ability. If the interpreter is appointed to assist a mentally retarded person or developmentally disabled person as described in division (A)(2) of this section, the oath also shall include an oath that the interpreter will not prompt, lead, suggest, or otherwise improperly influence the testimony of the witness or party.
(C) The court shall determine a reasonable fee for all such interpreter service which shall be paid out of the same funds as witness fees.
(D) As used in this section, "mentally retarded person" and "developmentally disabled person" have the same meanings as in section 5123.01 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 01-30-2004