Implement procedures for monitoring and evaluating language assistance services.
In order to ensure that language access services meet the needs of the LEP court users, it is important that jurisdictions both establish procedures to monitor the effectiveness of the overall LAP and program and also evaluate the quality of services performed by language assistance professionals.
Monitoring the overall effectiveness of a jurisdiction’s language access services is an essential component of developing an effective LEP program and LAP. Action Step 3, recommends establishing procedures to evaluate services to ensure that LEP court users’ needs are met and that courts are in compliance with state policies and mandates. Also, ongoing service evaluations provide information to help jurisdictions revise LAPs based on changing needs due to shifts in language demographics or LEP court user fluctuations. States should establish procedures for evaluating the quality of services provided by language access professionals, such as bilingual staff and interpreters. It is important that the quality of interpretation, bilingual communication, and translation of documents be monitored.
Currently, most all jurisdictions report that they employ some method of monitoring and evaluating of their language access services. When asked how they monitor and evaluate services, over 65% of jurisdictions responded that they utilize a statewide complaint and resolution process. Others replied that they use surveys to make an assessment. Nearly half of the respondents conduct surveys of court staff and language professionals. On the other hand, only about 20% of jurisdictions survey actual LEP court users. (Fig. Q13.)
Almost 60% of jurisdictions provided details on their methods of monitoring and evaluating their services. A high number of jurisdictions commented that they conduct monitoring and evaluations through direct communication and feedback.
Direct Communication, Oversight, and Feedback
- Direct communication/feedback from court users/participants and clerks of Court.
- Our language access consultant and the language access regional coordinator hold regular meetings with court staff to track progress and identify issues. The statewide program manager meets with the language access consultant to evaluate progress and find solutions to the issues that were identified at the meetings.
- Feedback from court and probation services personnel. I regularly receive telephone calls and emails regarding the fine work of Nebraska's court interpreters! When there is a problem or concern, court and probation services staff are comfortable notifying me or an interpreter coordinator directly, allowing Language Access program staff to address and resolve issues in a timely and effective manner.
- Oversight by several regional supervisors who are in constant contact with judicial stakeholders.
- Staff meetings, site visits and communication with court managers, judges and advocates/service providers
- We monitor and evaluate, through feedback provided by court staff, the services that we provide through our Texas Court Remote Interpreting Service, which provides limited remote interpretation for short, non-contested hearings by two Spanish licensed court interpreters.
- Court visits and contact with local staff
- Additionally, the statewide Interpreter Services Coordinator can monitor hearings in real-time using email and messaging with the in-court clerk. Additionally, the coordinator can listen in real-time to an interpreting event for some Anchorage proceedings.
- Lead Court Interpreters monitor staff and contracted providers' performance in the field. Monitoring of statistics.
- A proposed language access complaint and resolution process for the Florida Supreme Court and Office of the State Courts Administrator has been drafted and outreached to the trial courts for comment. Such process could serve as a model for the district courts of appeal and the trial courts.
- We monitor only to the extent of reviewing complaints if an issue is raised on appeal, or a party has filed a separate administrative complaint, or a judge, clerk or administrator complains about the quality of interpretation received.
- The Hawaii State Judiciary welcomes all comments/complaints regarding language services. Contact information is provided in the "Language Assistance" pages of the Judiciary's website. All multilingual translations posted on the 14 language-specific webpages on the Judiciary's website also prominently feature contact information for the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts (OEAC), which is the Judiciary's designated language access coordinator.
- Each judicial district has its own complaint and resolution process.
Data Collection and Reports
- Statewide data collection on interpreter usage.
- As a centralized office for language access we maintain data on the services provided.
- Prior to rolling out LAPs at the local level, we surveyed district court administrators statewide to find out what their top languages were. More recently, through the Language Access Data Collection (LADC) application, AOPC can monitor the services provided, including top languages, type of event, where the service was provided (courtroom or elsewhere in courthouse), etc.
- Annual Reports include: 1) progress on LAP Goals, 2) interpreter event data, 3) inventory of languages most frequently encountered, 4) credentialed interpreter data, and 5) OSCCIF activities related to language access. Biannual reports include: 1) inventory of languages most frequently encountered, 2) biennial language access expenses, 3) assessment of personnel’s understanding of LEP policies and procedures, and 4) performance measures. Every five years Conduct exit surveys to measure LEP court users’ satisfaction with language access services Periodically: Visit courthouses for maintenance and assistance in using provided access tools.
- See our report, http://mdcourts.gov/accesstojustice/pdfs/languageservicesreportfy16.pdf.
Formal review process
- Our Language Services Plan calls for a review every 2 years which is currently underway.
- The AOC provides courts with a Language Access Plan template covering services to be provided. With a non-unified system, courts at the local level are responsible for the implementation of the plan and its ongoing evaluation.
- The language access subcommittee of the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission.
- The survey of LEP court users is part of a comprehensive survey of all court users. Bilingual hosts assist LEP court users in the most-frequently requested encountered court-wide.
- Surveys listed above are informal surveys of court staff.