Do you have significant foreign language skills? Have you ever considered working as a Judicial Interpreter? If you enjoy language, law, and working with people, this very specialized profession may be of interest to you. Check out the website of The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. (NAJIT)
While many in the public believe that interpreters are in the court to help those with limited English skills, “helping” is actually a violation of the code of ethics. NAJIT describes their mission as: “… to promote quality services in the field of legal interpreting and translating. Our members play a critical role in ensuring due process, equal protection and equal access for non-English or limited English proficient (LEP) individuals who interact with the judicial system.”
The levels of source language proficiency (the language being translated from) and target language proficiency (the language being translated to) is extremely high. It is very important that the register of the source language be conserved in the translation. For example, if the source word is “inebriated” then “hooched” would not be an equivalent translation… and vice versa. The job of the Judicial Interpreter is not to interpret or define any terms, but to conserve all the elements of the speech, including false starts and silences.
It is the job of the Judicial Interpreter/Translator to protect the integrity of the court.
If this is of interest to you, some other websites that may be of interest include:
- American Bar Association Standards for Language Access in Courts (February 2012), (133 pages).
- A new website for Limited English Proficiency created by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.