Bar Association Highlights Language Barriers
As part of the Oneida County (NY) Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education series, officials from Multicultural Association of Medical Interpreters (MAMI) focused on the role of legal interpreters at a recent event in Utica, NY. Topics discussed included what interpreters are and are not permitted to do in a legal setting, the expanding need for interpreters in the local community, and the ethical and procedural dilemmas stemming from language barriers. "This program fascinates me because there are so many people who have come into our community from foreign countries, and these people bring with them not only a foreign language, but a foreign culture," said Mark Wolber, lawyer and lecture series chairman. Oneida County Family Court Judge Randal Caldwell noted that more than 525 interpreters had already been used by his court alone in 2010, and those cases involved people speaking many dialects, including Bosnian and Spanish. He observed that demand for interpreters still far outstrips supply. MAMI Executive Director Cornelia Brown noted that court interpreters are educated to translate statements as close to "word for word" as possible. "In all of these aspects, you have oral material that's of immense importance," she stressed. "So clearly, you want that record to be accurate." Attorney Timothy Roulan said that precedent has found the presence of interpreters in legal settings necessary to facilitate other rights, such as the right to be "meaningfully present" at a trial and participate in your own defense.
From "Bar Association Highlights Language Barriers, Interpreters"
Utica Observer-Dispatch (NY) (09/30/10) Potts, Courtney
Source: ATA Newsbriefs - October 2010