If you need an interpreter for your bankruptcy meeting of creditors, you should first notify your bankruptcy trustee. In most cases, the trustee will provide a telephonic interpretation service free of charge. However, if this service is not available, you may need to bring your own interpreter to the hearing. Read on to learn more about what to do if you need an interpreter for your meeting of creditors.
For additional information on the meeting of creditors, visit Nolo's Meeting of Creditors page for articles and answers to frequently asked questions.
Notify the Bankruptcy Trustee
If you need an interpreter, the procedures you must follow can vary depending on where you live and who your trustee is. Certain trustees will ask debtors if they need an interpreter on the day of their meeting of creditors. However, other trustees require further notice.
As a result, if you need an interpreter, notify your bankruptcy trustee as soon as you can after filing your case. This way, the trustee can also inform you of any special procedures you will need to follow.
(Learn more about the trustee in your bankrutpcy case.)
Free Telephonic Interpretation Services Are Usually Provided at Your Hearing
In most cases, the United States Trustee Program provides debtors with free telephonic interpretation services at the meeting of creditors. However, this may not be available in all hearing room locations.
This is generally a very simple process where the interpreter will translate the trustee’s questions and your responses over a speakerphone. If this service is not available, you may need to make arrangements to bring your own interpreter to the hearing.
The Trustee May Allow You to Bring Your Own Interpreter
If your trustee uses a telephonic interpretation service, he or she will usually require you to use that service. However, if the telephonic service is not available at your location or your language is not covered, you may need to bring your own interpreter to the hearing.
Generally, your interpreter needs to be an independent third party. You are normally not allowed to use a relative or employee as your interpreter. Certain trustees may also disallow friends as well. As a result, it is always a good idea to inform your trustee that you need an interpreter and ask about the procedures you will need to follow at your meeting of creditors.
If You're Represented by a Lawyer
If you have a bankruptcy lawyer, the lawyer should attend the meeting of creditors with you. Do not answer questions under oath without your lawyer present. Once the meeting is over, your lawyer can help you determine exactly which payments need to be made and when. Your bankruptcy lawyer can also help you respond to any discharge challenges.