Most Significant Challenges

Listed below are jurisdictions' most significant challenges to providing language access services.  Some jurisdictions face unique challenges, however, most programs are working to improve similar problems:  interpreter availability, qualification, and training, funding, and languages of lesser diffusion.

Q40 What are the most significant challenges in providing language access services that your program still faces?

Various Challenges

  • As a non-unified state, it is difficult for us to ensure that qualified interpreters are being used in all proceedings, especially in civil and court annexed proceedings. Although we encourage certification across the state, we know that certified interpreters are not hired as often as they should be, and we do not have sufficient access to qualified interpreters in more rural parts of the state. With our current state budget crisis, county budgets are limited and stretched thin.
  • Demand for languages of lesser diffusion, training and language competency testing for interpreters of languages of lesser diffusion, providing services after regular business hours for court-operated programs.
  • Developing self-sufficiency of interpreter services that we are a geographically isolated state. Building sufficient pool of interpreters in high demand languages, particularly Pacific Islander languages (i.e., Chuukese, Marshallese) and ensuring quality/competency of language interpreter services.
  • We are a small, rural state burdened with the same obligation as larger states to furnish competent interpreting services albeit with limited financial and staffing resources. It isn't feasible for us to invest in the infrastructure commonly found in larger states (e.g., testing).  While VRI seems intriguing, we question whether it's appropriate for lengthier proceedings; if not, it's hard to justify the investment.
  • Our most significant challenges usually involve securing certified or qualified interpreters for long trials in remote areas where video remote technology is unavailable. In most instances, interpreters cannot afford to schedule themselves for more than a week at a time. This is problematic for in-person interpreting in remote areas. As broadband improves, this challenge may be lessened. Additionally, the court system is challenged to provide competent interpreting for Yup'ik. Currently, the Language Interpreter Center has one qualified Yup'ik interpreter available for trials. The court system has a trained Yup'ik interpreter on staff in Bethel.
  • Creating sustainable cultural changes in court culture to incorporate procedures supporting language access. 2. Having resources and local interpreter motivation to engage in intense interpreter training necessary to increase the pass rate of oral interpreting certification exams in languages of lesser diffusion. Accessing resources to provide the additional support and training necessary to increase the number of certified interpreters of languages of lesser diffusion - few can pass the oral interpreting exams without additional, focused support in exam preparation.
  • Resources 1. Interpreters in rural areas, especially of languages of lesser diffusion 2. Equipment, training and technical support for video remote interpreting options 3. Legislative appropriation of funds for interpreters

Interpreter Availability, Qualification, and Training

  • Building up a local pool of qualified court interpreters.
  • Ready availability of court interpreters.
  • Lack of certified interpreters in rural areas. Lack of certified interpreters in languages of lesser diffusion.
  • Recruitment of certified interpreters in languages other than Spanish. Remote interpreting equipment and capability in each courtroom - especially in rural locations.
  • There is a crucial need for more certified court interpreters particularly in Northern Nevada and rural jurisdictions.
  • Finding qualified interpreters for rare languages.
  • Assuring that we have a sufficient number of qualified interpreters available on our registry.
  • The difficulty finding and retaining qualified interpreters.
  • A need for interpreters for even major languages; A need for individuals who are qualified and able to train others to provide interpreter services in a legal setting.
  • Lack of certified interpreters in languages other than Spanish in the state. Low passage rate for oral exam.
  • Recruiting and training rare language interpreters, building consentient practices statewide.
  • Not enough qualified interpreters, particularly for "rarer" languages; also hard to keep pace with emerging language needs, often due to refugee groups-- new arrivals are not yet fluent in English and there is often a very small community from which to draw potential interpreter candidates
  • Qualified rare language speakers; automating scheduling and invoicing.
  • Funding and lack of qualified interpreters.


  • Funding is a significant barrier to increasing language access and services in our state as well as technology and increased needs for additional languages.
  • State revenue failure and budget cuts.
  • Adequate funding to the extent necessary to recruit and retain a sufficient and steady supply of qualified court interpreters.
  • Funding. Increased demand for services and workload.
  • Funding (competing with other budget priorities in the state) and interpreter resources in languages of lesser diffusion (Other than Spanish languages).
  • Cost and funding of interpreters, technological and implementation challenges with video and remote interpreting.

Languages of lesser diffusion

  • Finding some of the less frequently requested languages (languages of less diffusion)
  • The increment of languages of lesser diffusion; number of interpreters that pass the certification exams
  • Obtaining qualified interpreters for languages that are very uncommon in the Midwest and/or the U.S. Obtaining funding to: (1) develop bi-lingual court forms, (2) acquire and implement remote video interpreting technology, and (3) provide and subsidize training and skill building workshops for interpreters, especially in languages other than Spanish.


  • Last minute requests for interpreters, lack of continuing education, lack of shadowing for new interpreters, recruitment of new interpreters and unavailability for their services
  • Working in a non unified court system. Not enough interpreters in enough languages in enough locations; establishment of VRI resources
  • There are several challenges that we face. One of the biggest challenges is credentialing LOS interpreters. Another challenge is not having a unified court system. And lastly, its proven difficult to explain and make court staff understand the importance of language access when many times they only encounter 1 or 2 limited English proficient individuals per year.
  • Our state law requires that all proceedings be in English. Staff resources to coordinate interpreting services.
  • Because we provide remote interpretation for short, non-contested hearings, the scope of the program is limited.
  • Text-based translation  needed for LOTS languages, both paper and digital
  • Access to adequately trained LOTS interpreters. Attorneys' attention to language access needs of their clients.
  • Identifying education and training opportunities for those wishing to start a career in court interpreting.
  • Some court locations are difficult to access and VRI would be beneficial.
  • In terms of general language access, funding, training, and compliance are key issues. As to the interpreter program specifically, recruitment and training of interpreters for LOTS languages is an ongoing challenge.
  • Not having enough language resources, and interpreters to meet the demands of the courts.
  • Balancing quality of service and costs.
  • Compliance Program Funding Skilled Interpreters.
  • The inability to anticipate language access need. Sometimes dialects and language come out of the blue and there is limited ability to react quickly and sometime at great expense due to last minute requests.

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