If you are an immigrant coming to America or who is already in the U.S., there may be times when you need to work with attorneys to complete necessary paperwork or to defend yourself against deportation. Whether you need to apply for a visa to stay and are a victim of domestic violence or you are trying to become a naturalized citizen, knowing your rights is very important.

There are thousands upon thousands of attorneys in America and dozens you may see in New York near you, but it’s important that you do choose to work with someone who you can easily understand. You should not overlook the importance of being able to be understood or of being able to understand what your attorney is telling you. The phrase “lost in translation,” is a popular one for good reason: If you speak a different language than English as your primary language, you may not be able to use or understand English with all the nuances it has.

Choosing a bilingual attorney

One of the things you should consider doing is hiring an attorney who is bilingual. Don’t select just any attorney who is bilingual, though. Find one who works in immigration law and who speaks your language. For example, if you speak Spanish, you may want to hire an attorney who speaks Spanish and English fluently. If you speak French or Haitian Creole, you should look for an immigration attorney who speaks the same language as you.

Don’t take their word for it, either. You should go to a consultation and make sure that the attorney is easy to talk to and understands what you’re saying, not just the sentiment of your words. If they don’t seem to understand the true meaning of what you’re saying, you may want to move on and find someone who is more fluent, such as someone who spoke both languages from birth. The same is true if your attorney suggests using an interpreter. That interpreter has to be able to translate your work accurately.

Your case is important, and you should be represented correctly. Making sure you understand your rights and that translations are done correctly is a major aspect of your proper representation.