2017 Fifth Annual Conference
Council of Language Access Coordinators

Over 75 participants from across the country attended the 2017 Council of Language Access Coordinators (CLAC) Conference, held May 21-24 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in the area of Washington, D.C.

Attendees included languages access program managers and court professionals dedicated to the subject of language access.  Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals gave welcoming remarks, and Chief Judge Eric T. Washington (retired) provided a keynote speech on achieving progress in language access in the state courts.  Hon. Patricia Griffin, Vice-Chair of the Language Access Advisory Committee (LAAC), and fellow members of LAAC, opened the meeting and Hon. Washington was honored and presented with an appreciation award in recognition of his services in advancing language access.  LAAC also thanked James Plunkett, Coordinator of Interpreter Services and Language Access Program for the DC Office of Court Interpreting Services, for his time serving as a CLAC Liaison to LAAC.

The theme of the conference, “Engaging Communities to Advance Language Access”, was selected to emphasize the importance of building strong relationships with language access stakeholders as part of the ongoing effort to identify and address needs of those appearing in courts, and to demonstrate collaborative efforts with the broader justice system and community partners.

Some of the numerous topics presented at the conference included:  

  • Natural Language Processing
  • Video Remote Interpreting and State Models of Technological Solutions
  • Formation and Use of Advisory Committees
  • Data Collection Strategies and Best Practices
  • Statewide Translation Efforts
  • American Sign Language Credentialing
  • Evaluation of Language Access Plans and Programs
  • Educating Judges and Court Staff on Working with Interpreters
  • Working with Community-Based Legal Organizations
  • Strategies to Assist with Vicarious Trauma
  • Online Training Modules for Interpreters of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Proceedings

In addition to the subjects listed above, this year’s conference again offered interactive Express Lessons on a number of topics of interest to CLAC members, with an additional opportunity for follow-up with lessons through a debrief Q&A session.  Roundtable express lessons included: Indigenous Language Interpreter Training; Quality Control of Interpreter Registry; Continuing Education for Credentialed Interpreters; Mentorships for Interpreters; Development of Post-Secondary Education Curricula for Interpreters; and Developing an Interpreter Complaint Process.

Conference attendees were invited to attend a reception at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City and participate in an evening bus tour of DC monuments on Tuesday, May 23.  The LAAC also held a business meeting in conjunction with the conference on Sunday, May 21.

The Conference was hosted by the National Center for State Courts and the District of Columbia Courts.