Law School for Interpeters – A Great Idea

South Carolina has a great idea — Law School for Interpreters, as described in their blog.

Here is the agenda:

Registration and Breakfast 8:00 a.m.
Welcome & Overview 8:45 a.m.
Pretest 9:00 a.m.
“Oh the Places You Can Go and the People You Can Meet” (Overview of the SC Judicial System) 9:15 a.m.
South Carolina State Court Interpreter Certification Program 9:45 a.m.
Circuit Court 10:30 a.m.
Family Court 11:15 a.m.
Magistrates Court 12:00 noon
Catered Lunch
Court Process 1:45 p.m.
Panel Discussion & Q&A: Reality Check 3:15 p.m.
Post-test, Wrap-Up, & Evaluation 4:45 p.m.

As I understand it, the idea is to make sure that interpreters who have not been working in the courts, are ready and authorized to do so.

For me, the name also suggests a more controversial idea, that interpreters should be trained in the provision of legal information, so that they can assist in making sure that LEP litigants understand the environment and situation even when there there is no court person trained and ready to provide that information through the interpreter. (It is controversial because, as a general matter, the profession takes a very formalistic view of its role, and is very critical of proposals to expand it.)


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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2 Responses to Law School for Interpeters – A Great Idea

  1. Richard –
    Thanks for commenting.

    Our hope is to attract more interpreters who will be motivated to complete court certification.

    Based on the attendance as well as the phone calls from those who missed registration or just now learned of the workshop, we’re hoping to offer it again. Each attendee also left with a thorough legal glossary to study prior to taking the certification exam. Most comments have revealed that this was exactly what they were hoping it would be.

    As expected, some interpreters noted that the material was more basic than they had hoped, while others noted that it was overwhelming. The majority fell somewhere in between. We did have one person who stated that they appreciated the class, but did not think they wanted to pursue court certification. While we were somewhat disappointed to learn that, we were pleased that the interpreter learned this at a low-cost option ($35 including material and 2 meals) instead of taking the exams for several hundred each and then determining it wasn’t what they wanted.

    We’ll keep you posted.

  2. Cristina Llop says:

    As a lawyer and more recently a certified interpreter, i find this idea very interesting, and I think a dialogue about the role of interpreters, at a practical and language-access focused level, at some point soon would be very helpful. Thanks for posting!

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