The following is a transcript of a video we recently put up on Youtube about this topic:
The customary practice these days is for immigration, or USCIS, to arrange for an official interpreter who is available by speakerphone to translate. This normally happens during a marriage interview where one or more of the parties cannot communicate in English, or in a naturalization interview where the applicant qualifies to take the examination in his or her native language.
Applicants can still try to bring their own interpreters but more often than not, USCIS will not use those interpreters or allow them in the room in order to curb the potential for fraud, bias, or inaccuracy in translation. This is especially true if the proposed interpreter is a friend or family member.
There may be occasions where the language that needs to be translated is uncommon. In that instance, you or your attorney may want to give advance notice to USCIS so that the necessary arrangements can be made in a timely manner. Otherwise, there is a risk that an interpreter may not be readily available during the time of your interview, resulting in your interview possibly being rescheduled.