Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals Are Being Left in Legal Limbo:
Understanding what’s going on in your case is not only a necessity but it’s a constitutional right under the due process clause, a right that should be extended to all occupants of the United States regardless of the language they speak. A lack of court interpreters in Santa Clara County, California is literally leaving judges, defendants, attorneys and jurors in legal limbo caused by chronic understaffing. Workers in the court system are becoming increasingly frustrated with waiting on interpreters to arrive in order to facilitate communication. Court interpreters say they are rushing through cases due to the heavy workload, arriving at the next case late and not getting breaks, which are vital for interpreters to combat the mental fatigue caused by interpreting. The mental overload of operating your sensory, motor and cognitive skills in unison is extremely tiring. An interpreter’s capacity is around 30 minutes before needing a break, this is why you normally see them working in groups of two or more.
Stretching court interpreters thin, leaves plenty of room for errors and misinterpretations that can truly have negative impacts on the lives of the limited English proficient (LEP) individuals involved. Non-English speaking defendants are sometimes winning their cases on appeal because they claim they did not fully comprehend the charges or cases against them, regardless of guilt. An increasing number of immigrants and refugees are migrating to the United States in search of a better life and more opportunities for their families. The substantial surge of diversity has led to the growing demand for court interpreters across the country. The shortage of court interpreters is putting a strain on the court system and the LEP individuals involved. Many LEP individuals are waiting months to receive a fair trial because there is not a qualified court interpreter who speaks their native language available.
Jaime Gonzalez’ ex-girlfriend who had just returned home from a year long drug addiction program, accused Mr. Gonzalez of domestic violence. He claims he is innocent and has stopped associating with the ex-girlfriend, however in the midst of the charges his daughter was removed from his care and home. Mr. Gonzalez has been fighting to gain back custody of his daughter for almost a year and says that he has been sent home and hearings canceled often due to there not being a court interpreter available. The child’s grades, attendance and confidence are suffering per a letter sent home by her teacher, while her father works countless community service hours in hopes to regain custody of his daughter. Many LEP people are finding themselves caught up in the legal system, facing detrimental and life changing consequences due to the lack of adequate and qualified court interpreters available to help them understand the charges brought against them. Courtroom workers are repeatedly having to reschedule cases and these delays cost the court, the defendant and prosecutors time as well as money. Rescheduling court proceedings for a LEP individuals means taking another day off work, arranging childcare, transportation and parking. Everyone in this country relies on the court system to protect them and in general right what has been wronged, but this is not always happening for LEP individuals. Language barriers segregate LEP individuals in the court system and leave them discouraged from interacting with the justice system for fear of misunderstandings.
There is Always a Court Interpreter Available Through Video Remote Interpreting Services:
VRI is a technologically advanced form of providing interpretation services. Although on-site interpretation is the best form for courtroom settings, VRI is literally the next best option. It exhibits all the benefits of having an on-site interpreter present with additional features. VRI connects LEP individuals with perfectly matched and qualified interpreters through an online platform. VRI eliminates scheduling and coordination issues, appointments can be pre-scheduled or on-demand services can connect you with interpreters often times in 5 minutes or less, making delaying or rescheduling proceedings a thing of the past. Exotic languages or even indigenous dialects are not an issue, you are connected with interpreters from all over the world through video remote software. The extreme amount of money spent on flying in an out of state interpreter would cease with the incorporation of VRI into courtrooms. The initial investment of the required equipment needed to use VRI services in substantially less than the thousands spent on bringing in a single out of state interpreter. LEP individuals rights are being compromised due to an inadequate supply of court interpreters needed to facilitate communication. The incorporation of VRI services within courtrooms across the country will significantly reduce the amount of cases falling through the cracks of our legal system because of language barriers.
Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 21 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at www.nilservices.com.