Hawai’i interpreters speak up for standards

What sense does it make to train incoming court interpreters if the trainers themselves aren’t certified court interpreters?

That’s the question being asked by the Hawai’i Interpreter Action Network (HIAN) in a letter to the Hon. Mark Recktenwald, chief justice of the Hawai’i Supreme Court.

By its current practice of allowing uncertified people to lead the “Basic Orientation Workshop” for incoming interpreters, as well as teaching more advanced trainings, the HIAN letter says,

The Judiciary is giving a “ha ha, wink wink” message: “We say we support standards, and we say we’d like you to meet them…but not really…we give the big, important teaching positions to someone who has not met the standards.”

HIAN goes on to ask:

How much credibility would a law school or a bar exam preparation course have if its instructors had not graduated law school, passed the bar or ever practiced law?

Read HIAN’s full letter here. ATA has also signed on in support – read their letter here.

The training issue is part of a longstanding problem in the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, which has “no certified, experienced spoken language court interpreter” available to advise the Judiciary or run its training program, writes HIAN. Read more about the history here.

To send a letter of support that can be forwarded to the Hawai’i Judiciary, please write to hawaii.interpreters@gmail.com. Private expressions of support are also welcome!

This article is re-printed from HIAN website. 

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Michael Applegate

Pacific Media Workers Executive Officer