Expanded Role Proposed for Ohio Court Interpreters
The Ohio Supreme Court is considering new rules to further improve access to the judicial system for Ohioans who need foreign or sign language interpretation.
Current Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio require the use of an Ohio Supreme Court certified interpreter in a “court or case function,” like a hearing, trial, or pre-trial conference, when possible.
The language proposed in new rule 89 would expand that provision to include bilingual services to limited-English proficient individuals for “ancillary court services,” such as communications with the clerk’s office, alternative dispute resolution programs, pro se clinics, and other situations that call for the exchange of general or legal information.
An additional proposal would amend rule 87 to allow non-certified foreign language interpreters to officially register with the Supreme Court Language Services Program as “registered foreign language interpreters.” While these interpreters wouldn’t be certified by the Supreme Court, they would have demonstrated language proficiency to interpret in a case or court function.
The changes have been recommended by the Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Language Services and the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence.
Written comments on the proposed rule amendments will be accepted until Oct. 1 and should be submitted to: Bruno Romero, Manager, Supreme Court of Ohio Language Services Program, 65 S. Front St, 6th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ohio Supreme Court has taken steps to improve access to the justice system for limited-English proficient, deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind individuals. Those efforts include establishing a certification program for court interpreters, providing guidance for courts in appointing certified interpreters, and developing a complaint resolution process.
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