Kansas: County Court System Relies on 32 Interpreters

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County Court System Relies on 32 Interpreters

Finney County, Kansas, courts have used interpreters since the late 1970s and now provide interpreting services in Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Laotian, among others. Thirty-two interpreters and translators are available to the 25th Judicial District for proceedings. Finney County District Court Chief Judge Philip C. Vieux says that "people are entitled to know what's going on. It's the very essence of due process. If they can't understand what is going on, we might as well throw out the Constitution." Vieux says that four Spanish speakers manage the majority of the translations, and handle as many as 85 cases in a given week. He points out that interpreters not only have to speak English and a second language, they also must be able to communicate at a higher level because interpreters must explain complex proceedings and uncommon words to clients in simple, comprehensible terms. More Spanish-speaking people use court services because of the expanding Hispanic population in Garden City. Court interpreter Rafaela Murillo-Rocha says she ascertains the level of education or the manner in which the client uses Spanish by exchanging brief, casual dialogue with that person. "It helps me determine what level of Spanish they use and if I must adjust my words for any regional dialects," she says.

From "Interpreters Needed to Help Explain Complex Proceedings"
Garden City Telegram (KS) (08/22/09) Gray, Rachael

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - August 2009


 

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