Policy: Court Interpreters Project

Sakhi presented key findings and recommendations from the Justice Speaks Initiative national court interpreter survey at a New York City Bar Association panel event on May 6, stressing the importance of better and more consistent training for interpreters, attorneys, and judges, as well as more resources for non-Spanish language interpretation.

Sakhi Executive Director Purvi Shah, who served as a panel discussant, pointed out several key successes in the struggle to increase access to justice in New York State courts for people with limited English proficiency in the past two years, including: increased pay for per diem interpreters, a standardized English exam, and creation of New York State Court Rule 217.

Purvi also pointed to the main findings of the survey, which included data and open-ended responses from 157 court interpreters across the country. She noted that a majority of intepreters received no training in critical areas like domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault, while making clear a desire to gain a greater understanding of these issues, given the frequency of the interpretation for these matters. She further highlighted the survey finding that many interpreters felt their roles were not understood in the courts, and called for more training for attorneys and judges to ameliorate the problem.

Purvi’s message is one that resonated with other panelists—including Nancy Mangold, a director at the New York State Office of Court Administration in the Division of Court Operations. Affirming the work of Sakhi and the Justice Speaks Initiative in helping to improve OCA’s performance, she observed, “Without language access, justice is denied.”

To watch a two-minute video clip of some of Purvi’s comments, as well as an audience member’s feedback, please choose a link below.

Video clip download options: To view the video clip, right-click either video file and save it to your hard drive. Alternatively, you can stream the clip by left-clicking either file if you have a fast connection.