ADVOCACY AGENDA FOR INTERPRETERS &
TRANSLATORS WORKING IN COURT AND LEGAL SETTINGS

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005 23.2 million U.S. residents or a little over 8 percent of the population had limited English speaking abilities.  Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 13166 issued in 2000, and numerous state laws and regulations require language services for these individuals.  Providing this assistance in judicial settings is particularly important for victims, defendants, civil litigants, and witnesses and requires the services of well-trained and highly-skilled, professional interpreters and translators. 

The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) was founded in 1978 in order to build professionalism among interpreters and translators working in the courts and other judicial and law-enforcement settings, to advocate in support of state and federal court and legal interpreter and translator programs, and to educate the public about the need for qualified and well-trained professional judiciary interpreters and translators.

Comments of the Advocacy Committee are below:

March 27, 2014 - NAJIT supports the Department of Justice’s ongoing initiative to require state judiciary systems to provide interpreters for all parties, witnesses, and victims, and others who come in contact with the courts, regardless of their ability to pay.

December 20, 2013 - NAJIT Supports Hawai'i Interpreters Action Network (HIAN) on training and qualifications concerns

April 25, 2013 - Court Interpreter Compensation

March 24, 2013 - NAJIT submitted the following testimony to the Hawaii Senate regarding HB266, a bill governing the use of interpreters in Hawaii courts.

,May 25, 2012 - Lost in Translation: Responses to a New York Times article on the outcome of Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan.

July 27, 2011 - Texas Rule Change: Provided comment to proposed rules which would create a second, lower-qualified tier of licensed court interpreters.

July 12, 2011 - Charlotte, North Carolina Organizations: Written to various organizations in Charlotte in support of their complaint to the Department of Justice regarding the failure of North Carolina to provide qualified court interpreters.

May 19, 2011 - Athens, TN: Chair Rob Cruz wrote to comment on the statement of a judge that he "speak[s] some Spanish and can tell he does a good job."

December 13, 2010 - Salt Lake: Written to applued the editorial stance of the Salt Lake Tribune, and to join it, deploring the intention of the Utah Judicial Council to ignore the plain guidance of the U.S. Department of Justice regarding assistant to LEP persons.

September 16, 2010 - Assistant Attorney General Perez Letter: Written in support of the guidance letter issues on August 16, 2010 by AAG Thomas Perez.

July 19, 2010 - Comments on Department of Homeland Security LEP Guidelines: Written to the Judge and staff writer involved in a case where a friend of the defendant was appointed to interpreter in court.

March 23, 2010 - Tennessee HB 262/SB 63: Collaborated with TAPIT in opposing HB 262/SB 63, which would require that all driving license materials be printed only in English.

December 2, 2009 - Nashville English-only: Collaborated with the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT) in opposing Nashville's English-only legislation.

September 24, 2009 - California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) Interpreter Program: Written to CSULB to urge them to reconsider its decision to discontinue its highly-regarded program in interpreting and translation.

July 13, 2009 - Kohl S 1329: Written to support Senator Herbert Kohl's legislation for grants to states to develop and implement court interpreter programs.

June 3, 2009 - Texas HB 4445: Written to Texas Governor Perry to oppose the creation of a second, less-capable tier of licensed interpreters.

March 1, 2009 - Relatives Interpreting: Issued a statement deploring the use of a suspect's brother as an interpreter for his interrogation.

February 18, 2009 - Position Paper on Telephone Interpreting: Coordinated the drafting and approval of a Position Paper on Telephone Interpreting in Legal Settings.

November 22, 2008 - Unmasking Iraqi Interpreters: Written to Secretary of Defense Gates opposing regulations requiring that interpreters in Iraq to work without masks.

September 11, 2008 - Afghani Interpreters: Written to Senators Levin and McCain, Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, supporting the extention of special immigrant visas to Afghani interpreters.

July 15, 2008 - News Release/Camayd/Freixas: Drafted a news release about the ethical issues raised by the statement of Erik Camayd-Freixas.

May 29, 2008 - Ohio HB 477/SB 260: Written to oppose two companion English-only bills in the Ohio legislature.

March 12, 2008 - Maryland SB 256: Written in opposition to Maryland SB 225, an ill-conceived reaction to the dismissal of the case involving a Vai-speaking defendant.

June 26, 2007 - Maryland Vai Case: Collaboration with NAJIT's Board of Directors and the American Translators Association to produce a joint statement about the failure of a Maryland court to locate a competent interpreter for a Vai-speaking defendant; the case against the defendant was dismissed for lack of timely prosecution because of the delay in finding an interpreter.

June 12, 2007 - Hawai'i Rules: Response to a request for comment by the Hawai'i Judiciary Public Affairs Office regarding proposed rules governing court interpreters.

April 27, 2007 - California AB 615: Written in support of AB 615, a bill to improve langauge services to LEPs in disaster situations.

April 12, 2007 - Kohl Bill: Written in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Herbert Kohl regarding services to LEP individuals.

January 2007 - Virginia Letters: Working with a member who had complained about courts in Virginia which did not use certified interpreters, although required to, the committee wrote individually to a large number of state court judges, urging that they comply with Judicial Council rules.