New task force meant to break down language barriers, aid court interpreters

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The INDIANA LAWYER com on 03/22/17 by Olivia Covington

Nearly 14,000 cases heard in Indiana’s trial courts in 2015 required a court interpretation service, a 21 percent increase from the previous year’s services and a 73 percent increase over 2013, when just under 8,000 cases required an interpreter.

Those services meet the needs of a variety of people, from Indianapolis’ Burmese population to Latino Hoosiers to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. As the number of litigants, witnesses or spectators requesting interpretation services continues to rise, the Indiana Supreme Court is taking steps to ensure those services are high-quality and far-reaching.

Through the Indiana Supreme Court’s recently created Advisory Task Force on Language Access in Indiana Courts, representatives from all areas of the legal community are studying how language can be a barrier to justice and how the state’s court system can improve its language services to remove that barrier.