U.S. Dept. of Justice: Colorado Must Provide Free Interpreters for Non-English-Speaking Residents

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U.S. Dept. of Justice: Colorado Must Provide Free Interpreters for Non-English-Speaking Residents

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U.S. Dept. of Justice: Colorado Must Provide Free Interpreters for Non-English-Speaking Residents

“Since late June of 2011, the State of Colorado has been required to provide free qualified court interpreters for all court proceedings.” — David Roberts, International Language Solutions, Inc.

PressMediaWire.com (Press Release Distribution) – Dec 13,2011 –

According to U.S. Census estimates, 14% of the Colorado population speaks only Spanish at home. The state is also home to tens of thousands of other non-English-speaking residents. Yet civil and criminal court business is conducted exclusively in English.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, all residents of Colorado are entitled to have equal access to justice—no matter what language they speak. “If you can’t communicate in the courtroom, you don’t have access to justice,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in an interview with the Associated Press.

The Justice Department viewed Colorado’s failure to provide free interpreters in all court cases as a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on national origin.

“Since late June of 2011, the State of Colorado has been required to provide free qualified court interpreters for all court proceedings,” explains David Roberts, president of International Language Solutions, Inc., a Denver- based firm that has provided interpretation and translation services in Colorado court systems since 2002.

“Non-English-speaking residents aren’t just entitled to free interpretation services in the courtroom during criminal proceedings, according to the Justice Department,” says Roberts. “Many attorneys still aren’t aware of the fact that litigants are entitled to free interpretation services during civil court proceedings such as divorces and lawsuits as well.”

But how can an attorney know that a legal interpreter or translator is qualified to work in a judicial setting?” It’s not enough to be bilingual,” says Roberts, who has a master’s degree in Spanish translation, and is a former co-chair of the Colorado Association of Professional Interpreters. “A qualified interpreter must also be familiar with the specialized language and proceedings of the court,” says Roberts, who teaches certification courses for interpreters through the Colorado Judicial Department Court Interpreter Program.

“A number of different specialized credentials are available,” notes Roberts. To ensure they’re meeting Justice Department requirements, and giving their clients the best possible representation, “attorneys should confirm that an interpreter has the appropriate specialized training, and look for either the State Court credential or a Federal Court credential, depending on where the defendant’s case is being adjudicated.”

International Language Solutions’ services have been in greater demand since the Justice Department’s directive went into effect, Roberts says. “We’ve become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for law firms representing non-English-speaking clients. We have a pool of qualified and credentialed translators and interpreters who have experience in State and Federal courts, and we coordinate the billing with the State of Colorado. Attorneys place one call to us and we take care of the rest.”

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About International Language Solutions, Inc.
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, International Language Solutions (ILS) provides interpretation and translation services in over 70 languages for attorneys and courts nationwide. 


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International Language Solutions, Inc.
David Roberts
303-726-4206
dave@internationallanguagesolutions.com
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