Interpreters Play Greater Role in Local Courts

The Seattle Times recently reported that interpreters have a greater impact in local courts. A recent court case in Seattle featured a Vietnamese gang member who reportedly blamed his interpreter for interpreting his legal proceedings inaccurately.

As cities such as Seattle have become more diverse, there has been an increased need for interpreters who can serve ethnic populations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many court interpreters work on contract and freelance. Over the next six years, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to increase 22 percent.

The work of an interpreter in court takes effort and patience. They must listen, speak, adjust words or grammar structure among other things. They do not translate word by word, but try to convey the general meaning.

Interpreter Martha Cohen of King’s County in Seattle stated that Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian have been the most requested languages for interpretation in the area. She described a later wave of request for interpreters, where knowledge of Korean, Lao and Cambodian was needed. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Cohen explained why she believed that interpreters were important for people who didn’t speak English.

"It's a question of access to services, access to exercise their rights, access to justice," commented Cohen in the Seattle Times article. "People who don't speak English have a right to understand what's said around them and to participate in their cases. We do whatever it takes."

To find out more regarding this issue, read the original Seattle Times article here.