Center on Court Access to Justice for All
The state court community has long been cognizant of the need for the effective use of court interpreters to improve access to justice for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals. Demographic trends make it clear that the American judicial system faces mounting difficulties in meeting the challenge of ethnic and linguistic diversity. In an effort to move towards greater awareness of these challenges, combined with the determination to implement programs to improve interpreting services, a growing number of state court systems have instituted certification and continuing education programs and have prescribed codes of professional responsibility for court interpreters. The newly-established Language Access Services Section (LASS) provides state courts with resources to overcome language barriers in the courts and to ensure that providing individuals with limited English proficiency with access to the courts is a core function of the courts. LASS works closely with the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) through the Language Access Advisory Committee (LAAC) and the Council of Language Access Coordinators (CLAC).
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may
be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
LASS provides state courts with resources to overcome language barriers in the courts and to ensure that providing individuals with limited English proficiency with access to the courts is a core function of the courts.
Delaware’s Court Interpreter Program is a state-funded, centralized program that coordinates all the Delaware courts’ language service needs. Detailed records of all interpreter services used permit Delaware to focus on adequate funding for this program and to anticipate current and future needs of Delaware’s limited-English proficient population.
Spanish-English Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination homepage.
U.S. Department of Justice. This report offers a brief overview on providing language access services in state courts across the country.
Limited English Proficiency federal government website.
This language access planning and technical assistance tool for courts was created by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Federal Coordination and Compliance Section (DOJ), to assist courts and court systems as they develop comprehensive language access programs.
These standards intended to assist courts in designing, implementing, and enforcing a comprehensive system of language access services that is suited to the needs of the communities they serve.
This translation guide was compiled and edited by the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts’ Professional Issues Committee, a committee of volunteers dedicated to advancing the work of the state courts’ language access programs. It is meant to compile some lessons learned by program managers over the years and serve as a guide to help other program managers move forward with translation projects within their own court system.
This manual, designed especially for court interpreters, covers basic security; the cycle and dynamics of aggression; in-court and out-of-court proceedings; defendant and inmate issues; weapons; travel to and from the workplace, as well as domestic and international travel; dealing with emergencies; personal safety.
This Judicial Bench Card gives guidance on providing qualified interpreters to assist the parties in protection order proceedings so that petitioners with limited English proficiency are on equal footing before the bench.
Courts are under increasing pressure to provide broader interpreter services. One strategy for meeting the demand is video remote interpretation (VRI), and pilots of VRI are now demonstrating acceptable quality and cost.
National Center for State Courts. This assessment identified counties and developed an action plan to pilot remote interpreting services within these counties.
Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference regarding centralized interpreting services in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
(2012). Judicial Council of California/Administrative Office of the Courts. This guide, approved by the California Court Interpreters Advisory Panel, offers assistance to court and judicial staff in identifying when Video Remote Interpreting may be appropriate for American Sign Language interpreted events. In addition, this guide identifies minimum technology requirements for VRI and a self assessment for ASL interpreters planning to provide VRI services.
This plan sets for initiatives in nine categories to guide and improve language access services in the New York courts.
This Plan provides a framework for the provision of meaningful language access for those individuals who are LEP, deaf, or hard of hearing who come into contact with courts of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.
This Language Access Plan consolidates and updates the New Jersey Judiciary's existing language access standards and policies, sets out both existing and aspirational best practices as a mechanism for continuous self-assessment and improvement of language access services, and establishes future goals for advancing the Judiciary's language access services program.
New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts. This report details the project which developed sixteen locally-tailored language access plans for 100% of district and 87% of magistrate courts in New Mexico.
This press release describes the new certification program. October 31, 2014.
This report highlights best practices in the delivery of court interpreter services.
A technical assistance report of an operational review of the Administrative Office of the Trial Court of Massachusetts. NCSC staff provides 26 recommendations to improve operations.
This publication offers an overview of the essential factors needed to properly implement meaningful court access to LEP individuals. It includes a self-assessment for all federal agencies regarding their LEP plans, as well as develops language access directives, plans, and procedures.
This letter dated August 16, 2010 clarifies application of Title VI and the Safe Streets Act regulations to language access in the courts. “DOJ has an abiding interest in securing state and local court system compliance with the language access requirements of Title VI and the Safe Streets Act and will continue to review courts for compliance and to investigate complaints.”
This study explored the capacity of Limited English Proficient (LEP) petitioners to receive orders of protection. The primary language resource that should be provided by the courts is interpretation, preferably carried out by certified interpreters.