a participant in the legal process who has command of languages the knowledge of which is necessary for the investigation and trying of a case in court.
In the USSR the Constitution (art. 159) provides for participation by a court interpreter in the legal process. This participation is mandatory if any one of the persons involved in the case does not know the language in which the proceedings are being conducted. The rights and duties of a court interpreter are also assigned to a person who understands the signs of the deaf and dumb and who is engaged to participate in a trial where the parties are deaf or dumb.
The court interpreter is appointed by the court, the investigator, or the agency in charge of preliminary investigation in instances provided for by law. The interpreter is paid for performance of his duties. A court interpreter who knowingly makes an incorrect translation is criminally punishable (art. 181 of the RSFSR Criminal Code).
Participation by a court interpreter in legal sessions is one of the guarantees of the exercise of democratic principles in a Soviet trial. Trying a case without a court interpreter in instances where an interpreter is mandatory is grounds for setting aside the judgment or decision of the court.