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Friday, July 27, 2012

Translators Hold Critical Role in Court

July 02, 2012 2:30 am  •  

TWIN FALLS • Erica De La Rosa is in court nearly every day, but she never speaks for herself.
“We’re not supposed to exist,” she said.
De La Rosa is a court certified Spanish interpreter for Twin Falls County 5th District Court. Interpreters are not lawyers or advocates and don’t give legal advice or even explain to defendants possible outcomes in their case.
“You say what they say,” she said, no matter how shocking or strange it might be, Idaho law requires that courts ensure access to all people, including those with limited English proficiency or those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The courts meet these requirements by developing programs that improve the quality of interpretation and increase the number of qualified interpreters in the courts, according to the Idaho Supreme Court website.
Interpreters are under oath to completely and accurately translate what is said in court to the best of their ability, said Mary Jo Palma, the coordinator for translators in Twin Falls County, and a certified Spanish interpreter.
“If an interpreter becomes aware they’ve made a mistake they’re under obligation to correct it,” Palma said. “If an interpreter is challenged, the judge will rule accordingly.”
One case where an interpreter was questioned is currently making its way through court in Twin Falls County.
For complete article, click here

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