Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Courts may worsen interpreter shortage with new pay ceiling

"In the past decade, there has been a growing demand in state courtrooms for interpreters in Spanish and other languages. Courts are obligated under the Sixth Amendment to ensure that all defendants understand what's going on in the courtroom, including providing interpreters for non-English speakers and people with hearing problems."

"In September, the state Supreme Court decided to cap interpreters' pay at $50 per hour for certified Spanish interpreters, $40 for registered and $30 for non-credentialed interpreters."

"Those rates fall below growing demand in the private sector for interpreters and will mean that even fewer interpreters will be willing to go through a testing and training process to acquire court interpreter credentials, said Judith Kengison Kristy, co-president of the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators. The group has organized a letter-writing campaign against the new rates."

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