Court interpreters paid for their time, talents

LIHU‘E — The state Judiciary (court system) is seeking language interpreters on all islands, including those with sign-language skills, states a press release.

Applicants must pass an orientation program and a series of written and oral tests, and are paid for their help and appearances.

Depending on their performance on written and oral exams, court interpreters are paid between $25 and $55 per hour, with a two-hour minimum.

In fiscal 2009, the Judiciary paid $436,000 to provide qualified interpreters for parties and witnesses in 7,872 cases, the release states.

Those who can interpret in Chuukese, Ilokano, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Marshallese, Japanese, Tagalog, Pohnpeian, Tongan, Samoan, Mandarin, Cantonese and Laotian, may become court interpreters by completing the upcoming orientation program and passing a series of tests.

The Kaua‘i orientation workshop is Feb. 24 and 25.

A $5,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Women’s Legal Foundation and Hawai‘i Friends of Civic and Law-Related Education is being used to lower the registration fee from $120 to $75, the release states.

Application forms may be downloaded from the Judiciary’s Web site at www.courts.state.hi.us/courtinterpreting or obtained from the Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 1-808-539-4860.

Requirements for certification include completion and acceptance of the application, successful completion of a two-day orientation workshop, achieving a passing score on a written English proficiency and court-interpreter ethics exam, clearing a criminal background check and achieving a passing score on an oral exam in a non-English language.

Court interpreters work on a freelance basis as independent contractors in criminal and certain civil cases when parties or witnesses are unable to hear, understand, speak or use English sufficiently, the release states.

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