There are many occasions when it is necessary to use the services of an interpreter during, or in connection with, a marriage ceremony.
Your celebrant may decide that an interpreter is required if:
- the celebrant
- one of the parties to the marriage
- one of the witnesses
It is the celebrant's decision under Section 112 of the Marriage Act 1961 to decide whether an interpreter is needed. The couple will need to provide the interpreter.
The parties to the marriage cannot be the interpreter.
In most cases, although it is not illegal, a witness would not be an acceptable interpreter as they could be compromised by having the two roles.
Before the ceremony, your chosen interpreter will need to sign a statutory declaration to say that they understand and can converse in the relevant languages and give this to the celebrant.
After the ceremony, the interpreter will also need to sign a Certificate of Faithful Performance to say that they have interpreted accurately. Your celebrant will send these forms to the Registrar of Marriages as part of your marriage records.
There is considerable skill in working as, and with an interpreter. Your celebrant will want to share information with the interpreter about the various elements of your ceremony before your wedding day so that the interpreter can prepare well.
Even if the couple, the celebrant and the witnesses all understand the language being used for the ceremony you may still choose to have an interpreter present if, for example, some of your guests are from overseas and do not speak English. Although this is not a legal requirement it can be a good way to make your ceremony inclusive and you should discuss this with your celebrant when planning your ceremony.
Talk to your celebrant from The Celebrants Network if you think you might need an interpreter.