The interpreter

What specific competences does an interpreter have and what are his/her tasks?
The interpreter is a person who, owing to his/her specialist qualifications, is able to interpret from the language of the proceedings into another language, or from another language into the language of the proceedings.

Interpreters are called to interpret examinations, hearings and to translate documents which are deemed relevant for investigating and solving a crime.

Who is entitled to assistance by an interpreter?
Every offender who does not have a sufficient command of the language of the proceedings has the right to interpretation assistance. This will usually be provided by an interpreter. Interpretation is mandatory in particular when the offender is cautioned on his/her legal rights, for evidence gathering, and for hearings in court. Interpreters are also provided for contacts with a defence lawyer, as needed.

Victims as well are entitled to interpretation if they do not have an adequate command of the language of the proceedings.

How can hearing or speaking impaired persons follow the proceedings?
If the offender or a witness and/or the victim is hearing or speaking impaired, a sign-language interpreter is called in, if that person understands sign language.

Who can be appointed as interpreter and who pays for interpreting?
The Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice and/or its specialised agency, the Justizbetreuungsagentur, make qualified persons available who are then appointed as interpreters.
Only if no suitable person can be found from that pool, or such person cannot be reached in good time, any other suitable person may be appointed as interpreter; preference should be given to interpreters inscribed in the list of court interpreters.

Like court experts, interpreters are entitled to fees and are bound by official secrecy.

In which language can I turn to the court?
The official language in Austria is German. In some regions of the country with a large minority of another mother tongue, authorities may also be contacted in other languages. In parts of Styria and Burgenland, for instance, Croatian is an official language.
In some parts of Carinthia, Slovene is an official language, and in parts of Burgenland Hungarian is an official language.