Challenges for Courts and Court Interpreters

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    • 00:00

      [Challenges & Misconceptions]

    • 00:03

      SPEAKER: The challenges for the courtand for interpreters today is that the profession is growing.And it's required now.It's not something that courts just offer if they want to.It's mandated by the federal government

    • 00:27

      SPEAKER [continued]: under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Safe Streets Actthat persons with limited English proficiencybe provided equal access to the courts.So Colorado, for example, which is where I'm working now,

    • 00:47

      SPEAKER [continued]: has recently, within the past three and a half years,signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Justiceand the US government stating that Colorado and the courtswill provide equal access to anyone, regardlessof the language and regardless of cost.So it's something that's absorbed by the state.

    • 01:10

      SPEAKER [continued]: And we provide interpreters for everyonethat comes through the door that asks for an interpreter,be it Spanish, be it Korean, Amharic, Arabic, everything.And I think that presents a challenge.Because, even though Spanish interpreters are readilyavailable-- and we're very lucky in Colorado

    • 01:30

      SPEAKER [continued]: where we provide interpreters for over 150 languages--there's the challenge that in order to be in compliancewith this agreement that we have with the federal government,you have to have signage, you have to provide interpreterfor everybody, and, you know, it's a monumental task.

    • 01:52

      SPEAKER [continued]: There's a lot of courthouses in this country.And it's taken-- I've been in Colorado 18 years,and I've seen an incredible growth here.When I got here, there was no language access programor interpreters program for the courts.Every judicial district was doing things differently.

    • 02:12

      SPEAKER [continued]: Just like I started in Florida with zero experience.Probably the biggest misconceptionis that interpreter and translator are interchangeable.It's a completely different, let's say, art form.Interpreting is the oral spoken word.Translation is the written word.

    • 02:34

      SPEAKER [continued]: And it's amazing how often you hear those terms interchanged.And usually, it's everybody trying to say interpreter,but they just use translator.That's a big one.And I think it's becoming more and more understood now.And just because you're an interpreter,doesn't make you a translator, or vice versa.

    • 02:57

      SPEAKER [continued]: And I would say the other is that--and we discover this in the hiring processhere quite often-- that people think, OK, well, you know,I was brought up speaking Spanish, and I was educated,and I speak English, so I must bean interpreter-- the same stake I made when I first started.

    • 03:18

      SPEAKER [continued]: I thought, well, OK, I speak Spanish, and I speak English.I've been educated here.I'm an interpreter.Not true-- big myth.And we do, in our hiring process here,we do do some preliminary testing justto sort of thin out the mass of applications that we get.

Challenges for Courts and Court Interpreters

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Abstract

Mike Buch discusses his career as a court interpreter and highlights common misconceptions about the job.

Challenges for Courts and Court Interpreters

Mike Buch discusses his career as a court interpreter and highlights common misconceptions about the job.

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