Massachusetts Trial CourtOffice of Court Interpreter Services ASSISTING LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT (LEP) PARTIES IN THE TRIAL COURT Presenter: Leonor Figueroa-Feher, Ph.D. Program Manager for Training, OCIS April 2014
Points for Presentation: Why Language Access? OCIS Language Access Resources Requesting interpreter services Requesting telephone interpreter services Tips for effective communication with LEP parties through interpreters Things to avoid when working with interpreters
The Office of Court Interpreter Services (OCIS) The Office of Court Interpreter Services was established with the premise that all persons within the Commonwealth, regardless of their literacy or proficiency in the English language, have the right to equal access to the courts and to justice, and have the right to access all of the services and programs provided in court facilities.
G.L. c. 221C 1.02 All persons withinthe Commonwealth, regardless of their literacy or proficiency in the English language, have the right to equal access to the courts and to justice,and have the right to access all of the services and programs provided in court facilities. 1.03 A Limited English Proficiency (“LEP”) individual1, throughout a legal proceeding, shall have a right to the assistance of a qualified interpreter who shall be appointed by the judge, unless the judge finds that no qualified interpreter of the LEP individual’s language is reasonably available, in which event the LEP individual shall have the right to a certified interpreter, who shall be appointed by the judge. G.L. c. 221C, §
Office of Civil Rights Title VIof the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. All federal agencies that provided grants of assistance are required to enforce the Title VI regulation.
http://www.mass.gov/courts/programs/interpreter-services/ Standards & Procedures of the Office of Court Interpreter Services
Support Services:Ongoing Access-Related Projects Trial Court's Language Access Plan Model Language Access Courthouse (Worcester) Court Service Centers
Interpreter ServicesSupport Services Departmenthttp://trialcourtweb/admin/planning/interpreters.htmlhttp://www.mass.gov/courts/admin/planning/interpreters.html · ··Standards and Procedures for Court Interpreter Services·· · ··Code of Professional Conduct for Court Interpreters of the Trial Court·· · ··Instructions & FAQ for the Office of Court Interpreter Services · ··Resources for Users of Interpreter Services United States District Court, Southern District of New York · ··Resources for Interpreters · Translated Court Forms Multilingual Small Claims Forms · ··Notice of Linguistic Access · ··List of Interpreters·· · ··Request an Interpreter·· To request an interpreter for a court proceeding please contact the court liaison in the appropriate court. · ··Application Information for Per Diem Applicants/Application Questionnaire · ··OCIS Forms · ··OCIS Mandatory Ethics Workshop and Exam http://www.mass.gov/courts/programs/interpreter-services/
Interpreter Services FormsSupport Serviceshttp://trialcourtweb/admin/planning/ocisforms.htmlhttp://www.mass.gov/courts/admin/planning/ocisforms.html OCIS Forms · ··Court Investigator Interpreter Request Form·· · ··Cancellation Form·· · ··Complaint Form·· · ··Daily Service Record·· Updated 5/27/11 · ··Daily Service Record for American Sign Language Interpreters·· · ··Request for Interpreter·· http://www.mass.gov/courts/programs/interpreter-services/
Services Provided by OCIS Court Interpreters for criminal and civil matters Requests administered through MassCourts Phone Interpretation Services ASL(sign language) interpreter services Training/Support in using interpreter services New: -Translation of official court documents -Video Remote Interpretation services to be implemented
OCIS Interpreter Resources • 25 Staff Interpreters • 5 Portuguese • 1 Cambodian (Khmer) • 17 Spanish • 1 Vietnamese • 1 Haitian Creole • 180+ Per Diem Interpreters • 70+ languages
Salem: Spanish Lowell: Khmer, Spanish Lawrence: Spanish Hampden Superior: Spanish Springfield: Spanish Holyoke: Spanish Framingham: Portuguese Worcester: Spanish Roxbury: Spanish Suffolk Superior: Spanish Dorchester: Vietnamese, Haitian Creole Chelsea: Spanish East Boston: Spanish New Bedford: Spanish Fall River: Spanish Brockton: Spanish Taunton: Portuguese Barnstable: Portuguese Courts With Staff Interpreters [March 2014]
To obtain interpreter services in court: Identify and contact the court's liaison to request interpretation services, or inquire at the clerks' office or directly with the session's clerk. Check with the court's on-site interpreters' office, if available. Use the “I Speak” card to identify language.
Requesting Phone Interpreting Services Through OCIS (New) For immediate service: Call OCIS at 617-878-0269 to be connected to LanguageLine. In advance: Call or fax-in a request. Fax # 617-367-9293
Translated court forms already available On-line (as of March 2014) Under District Court's“Forms:” Small Claims forms Chinese Haitian Creole Khmer Portuguese Russian Spanish Vietnamese Under Probate and Family Court's “Forms:” Financial Statement [short form]Form in SpanishForm in Portuguese Under “Self Help Center:” Getting Ready for Your Day in Court(3 pages) - Information from Representing Yourself in a Civil Case, on how to prepare for court, how to conduct yourself in the courtroom and what you should to do if you don't speak English very well.>> English>> Portuguese>> Spanish Coming Soon: 209A forms (8 languages) Waiver of Rights/Tender of Plea (“Green Sheet”) ~ Spanish
Other Resources: List of OCIS Interpreters OCIS maintains a list of staff and per diem interpreters, certified and screened to facilitate access to the courts for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals. In addition, OCIS provides general access to interpreter services by making this list public so it can be used by attorneys and other legal or law-related entities that seek assistance in obtaining qualified interpreters. http://www.mass.gov/courts/admin/interpreters/list-of-interpreters.pdf
Special circumstances may apply when scheduling languages of lesser diffusion, such as: Kpelle (Liberia) Ibo (Nigeria) Fuzhou (China) Krahn (Nigeria, Congo) Malay (Malaysia) Tamil (Malaysia, Shri Lanka,etc.) Dinka (Sudan) Hmong (China, Laos, etc.) Fulani Karen (Myanmar) Mizo Chin (Myanmar, India) Burmese (Myanmar-formerly Burma)
Quick Guide for Working With Interpreters Speak directly to the LEP person. Avoid acronyms, technical languages, jokes or idioms. Be patient. Clarify any term the interpreter or the LEP party doesn’t understand. Understand that court interpreters are not advocates, attorneys, administrative staff or friends of the LEP parties. Use the court interpreter’s time wisely; he/she may need to cover another court after yours.
#1Speaking to an LEP party through an interpreter Do not say to the interpreter: “Tell her that she needs to bring in her daughter tomorrow.” Instead, say to the LEP party directly: “Ms.---, you need to bring in your daughter tomorrow.”
#2Speaking to an LEP party through an Interpreter To avoid confusion, do not say to the LEP party through the interpreter: “On 4/6 you came to court seeking a restraining order, right?” Instead, say: “On April 6th you came to court seeking a restraining order, right?”
#3Speaking to an LEP party through an Interpreter The interpreter will not say: “She says her daughter is not staying with her right now” Instead, the interpreter will say: “My daughter is not staying with me right now.”
Helpful Tips for Working with and Over-the-Phone Interpreter Brief the interpreter to provide context. Speak directly to the customer. Speak naturally, not louder. Speak in one sentence or two short ones at a time. Address any clarifications. Ask if the LEP understands. Do not ask interpreters for their opinion. Avoid jargon, acronyms or technical terms. Close the call. (From LanguageLine Solutions)
Assignment Protocols: Per Diem interpreters must be signed-in and signed-out for the morning or the day (Daily Service Record). They are generally not assigned to work during lunch-time, except when specified on the request. Both per diem and staff interpreters will carry a court-issued ID. Many will be covering more than one court that day.
Be mindful about the following: Avoid using children. With 209A matters: never use the alleged abuser or members of his/her family. Watch out for “rogue interpreters” who charge LEP parties for services offered by OCIS. Do not ask interpreters to help LEP parties fill out forms. They can only orally translate their contents. Please, call or fax OCIS to inform them of cancellations.
Focus Questions: What is Court Interpreting? Is the Court Interpreter's role to make sure LEP parties understand their court or legal process? OCIS Interpreters:
On Court Interpreting: Means orally transferring a message rendered by the speaker into the language of the listener, without adding, improving, changing, omitting content and context, and preserving tone and intent of the speaker. It is not just replacing a word for another. It demands a deep understanding of both languages and subject matter. It requires constant analysis and mental focus.
A. The Court Interpreter's role is to ensure equal linguistic access for LEP parties in court to make them linguistically present throughout their legal process. However, it is not their role to ensure LEP parties' understanding of the process. Their role is to enable LEP parties: • to hear everything said regarding their legal process; • to communicatewith English-speaking parties effectively and transparently.
Professional qualifications and skills required to excel as a Court Interpreter: College degree (B.A. +) Superior language proficiency Understanding of translation/interpretation theory Knowledge of both legal systems (Source/Target) Interpreting skills Analytical skills Ability to multi-task Communication skills Cultural competency
Professionally-Trained Interpreters: Interpret Simultaneously Interpret Consecutively Sight (orally) Translate Documents These are professional skills that need to be learned.
Screened and Certified Interpreters OCIS recruits and trains interpreters who provide interpreting services to the Trial Court throughout the Commonwealth. This specialized training leads to two levels of accreditation: screened and certified. Generally, interpreters begin working for OCIS as screened interpreters and, upon accumulation of interpreting expertise, progress toward the higher accreditation level of certified. Certification is most often achieved by passing written and oral exams. In some languages there are no certified interpreters.
Court Interpreter Certification v. Academic/Training Certificate A certificate received upon finishing an academic certificate program in interpretation or translation is not recognized as an official court certification credential.
On Interpreter Certification: In the USA, official court interpreter certification is currently issued by: • A state Trial Court’s interpreter’s program, such as OCIS (Various languages) • The Federal Court’s interpreter’s program (Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Navajo) • The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters (NAJIT) (Spanish)
Code of Professional Conduct Accuracy Impartiality Confidentiality Avoidance of Conflict of Interest Proficiency Duty to inform the court of difficulty to perform their duties. Duty to correct errors in their interpretation. Should only act as language facilitators, not as advocates.
Appropriate Interventions (not Advocacy) from Court Interpreters To clarify meaning or to “open a window” that may prompt others to solve breakdowns in communication. To correctinterpretation errors. To instruct others of impediments to their performance. To request assistance from the Court in ethically-challenging scenarios. To inform LEP and English-speaking parties of their standards of practice.
What are some of the risks in using: • Untrained, unqualified interpreters in court? Outside of court? • Family members or members of the LEP's community?
Monitoring the interpreter's performance The interpreter renders the LEP party’s long answer with a couple of words.
Monitoring the interpreter's performance You notice the interpreter chatting with the LEP party in their own language too often.
Working With Ad Hoc Interpreters: • Check for familiarity with concepts involved. (share forms, glossaries, reports, etc.) • Check for and monitor ethical standards: accuracy, impartiality, completeness and confidentiality. • Assess the ad hoc’s linguistic ability. • Agree oninterpretation mode(s). • Encourage interpreter to ask you for clarification of any terms you use.
Problems with phone interpretation: • The interpreter takes over. • The interpreter and/or the LEP party are intimidated by the call. • The interpreter doesn’t have enough context or information about the matter at hand. • The interpreter from LanguageLine is not local • Technical difficulties • Confusion as to who's who
Seating arrangement: • Who needs the interpreter? • Maintain direct communication with your LEP client. • Discourage private communications between interpreters and LEP parties.
Troubleshooting Recap: Monitor interpreters' performance. Intervene if necessary. Clarify terminology. Provide interpreters with context/basic information. Monitor your own delivery for speed, clarity, etc.
Challenges in achieving accuracy: • idioms • jokes • slang • culturally-specific expressions or concepts • false cognates • ambiguous language • legalese • acronyms • no direct equivalent concept
Think of these examples: She hid the gun in the lazy Susan. He’s been around the block a few times, he knows! Are you going to beat around the bush again, Mr. Smith? Your Honor, he was CWOF'd out of West Roxbury last month. Mr. Gardner was violated on charges of DWL while on probation.
English>Hmong Arraignment Thawj zaug tsev hais plaub teem caij rau tus neeg txhaum plaub mus ntsib xam uas nus yuav txais daim ntawv foob, lwm yam lus, thiab xam yuav qhia nus txoj cai rau nus
False Cognates • Ese día mi hermano nos había estado molestando toda la mañana. • Carla estaba constipada y se sentía fatal. • That day my brother had been pestering/ bothering/teasing us all morning. • Carla was all stuffed-up/congested and she felt awful.
False Cognates • A pesar de su disgusto, Elena fue simpática con sus suegros durante la cena. • Cuando salió de la oficina se le veía muy alterado. • Despite her anger, Elena was nice to her in-laws during dinner. • When he came out of the office he seemed very upset.