Tennessee Interpreter Shortage Stymies Justice System

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Tennessee Interpreter Shortage Stymies Justice System

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is attempting to improve the state’s ability to serve foreign-language residents in its civil court system. Tennessee is one of several states unable to meet the language access rights required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On August 17, the Department of Justice sent a letter to state courts clarifying the mandate to provide language services for people with limited English proficiency (LEP). The shortage of interpreters and the funds to pay for their services are major obstacles for Tennessee. While the state’s immigrant population has boomed—the Nashville area is now home to more than 100,000 foreign-born citizens—little has been done to improve interpreting service resources in the courts. Interpreter shortages exist in Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Somali, and Arabic languages. To avoid months-long delays, some judges permit friends or relatives to act as interpreters, says attorney David Esquivel. He believes that this practice further contributes to the problem because there is no way to know the accuracy of the interpreter. Athens-based interpreter Rob Cruz also notes that the Tennessee court system does not pay for interpreting services except in cases where a person is deemed indigent. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia Clark would like to see interpreting services provided in all cases, regardless of the ability of the defendant to pay. However, the state judicial system’s budget has been cut by 21% over the last two fiscal years. With another 3% reduction expected in the next budget, Clark says the prospects of funding interpreting services in the immediate future are slim.

From "Language Barrier Keeps Some Tennesseans From Getting Justice"
Tennessean (TN) (09/26/10) Gee, Brandon

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - September 2010
Ο λόγος είναι μεγάλη ανάγκη της ψυχής. (Γιώργος Ιωάννου)


 

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