Interpreting Justice: Progress and Challenges on Language Access, An Asian Pacific American Perspective 2017

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For Immediate Release

Dec. 14, 2017

Download a copy of “Interpreting Injustice.”

WASHINGTON — At a briefing on Capitol Hill, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) released “Interpreting Justice: Progress and Challenges in Language Access,” a report on language access for Asian Pacific Americans with limited English proficiency (LEP).

“Interpreting Justice” provides recommendations on policies, strategies, and best practices for legal, government, and community stakeholders to further diminish barriers to language access services for Asian Pacific Americans. Interpreting Justice” finds that while overall progress has been made in the past 10 years, LEP individuals continue to struggle with limitations on languages interpreted, costs of interpretation, inconsistent interpreter quality, insufficient language assistance inside and outside of the courtroom, and a lack of translated written materials.

“This important report demonstrates the progress federal and state courts and agencies have made in the past decade, but underscores the continued need to improve language access services for the Asian Pacific American communities all over the country,” said NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi. “NAPABA’s language access report, ‘Interpreting Justice,’ provides an updated picture on how the federal and state courts and agencies accommodate for the fastest growing population in the United States, Asian Pacific Americans.”

The diverse array of languages and dialects, particularly among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, presents great challenges to ensure quality interpretation in both federal and state courts.“Interpreting Justice” recommends improving rules and standards for the use of interpreters, creating and providing translations of vital documents, and prioritizing appropriate training and compensation to maintain a pool of highly qualified interpreters.

Access for people with limited English proficiency in state courts progressed in the last decade, but access still varies greatly by state.  More state courts and agencies have adopted language access plans or require certified interpreters, but states remain inconsistent with compliance with language access requirements. Much of the progress state and local agencies achieved for LEP individuals was the result of collaboration with advocates and community stakeholders.

NAPABA’s report also recognizes funding for language access as one of the largest barriers for LEP individuals and programs designed for LEP individuals. Federal budget cuts and the lack of awareness of language services for the LEP community creates a required increased emphasis on pursuing other forms or channels of funding, often stretching organizational capacity. NAPABA’s report recommends a number of feasible measures to counteract the underfunding.

“Interpreting Justice” builds on the work NAPABA started in 2007 with its groundbreaking report, “The State of Language Access for Asian Pacific Americans,” a culmination of NAPABA’s longstanding commitment to advance equal access to justice for Asian Pacific Americans with limited English proficiency (LEP) and widely used in creating new national standards on language access in the courts.

To access the full report, click here
.

The report is a project of the NAPABA Research Institute led by the NAPABA Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. The report was released during a Congressional briefing in collaboration with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, featuring remarks delivered by Congresswoman Grace Meng (N.Y.–6), held in conjunction with the NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, 202-775-9555, bschuster@napaba.org. Questions about the 2017 report may be sent to Oriene Shin at 202-775-9555, or at oshin@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit
www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter(@NAPABA).

2017 NAPABA Convention Kicks Off in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Today, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) kicks off its 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C., from Nov. 2–5, 2017. More than 2,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, legal scholars, and elected officials from around the country—a new NAPABA Convention attendance record—will gather at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC. The Convention will feature over 50 panels and plenaries on a wide range of issues affecting the legal and Asian Pacific American communities.

Among the session highlights, the 2017 NAPABA Convention marks the 10th anniversary of NAPABA’s groundbreaking language access report, “Increasing Access to Justice for Limited English Proficient Asian Pacific Americans: A Report for Action.” The report identifies major challenges limited English proficient individuals, in particular members of the Asian Pacific American community, faced in courts and set out best practices for federal and state courts to follow. For its 10-year anniversary, NAPABA will launch the second edition of the report that provides up-to-date information. During the Convention session, panelists will explore the 2017 report’s key findings and recommendations, as well as assess the current state of access and identify areas of improvement and gaps that remain in the courts, administrative agencies, and other providers.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, the 29th Anniversary Gala will feature a keynote address by United States Solicitor General Noel Francisco. Mr. Francisco was recently sworn in as the 48th Solicitor General of the United States on Sept. 19, 2017. The evening also will include the official induction of 2017–18 NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi, and the NAPABA Board of Governors.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 80 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.

To learn more about NAPABA, visitwww.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter(@NAPABA).

ENSURING LANGUAGE ACCESS IN NEW YORK COURTS

Judge
Raja Rajeswari made history as the first South Asian woman to be appointed to
Criminal Court in the history of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio in April of
2015. She is a proud member of AABANY and we were pleased to support
her during her history making appointment process in 2015. Being an immigrant herself who is multi-lingual, she fully
understands the special challenges that individuals with limited English
proficiency face and her goal in becoming a judge was to provide access to
justice for every individual who encounters our court system regardless of the
language they speak. She was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Court
Interpreting in November of 2015 and is currently chairing the subcommittee for
courthouse environment.

On
Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Judge Raja Rajeswari will be joining a panel of speakers
at the New York City Bar Stimson Room at an event titled “We All Speak Justice
Here! Ensuring Language Access in New York Courts” at 6:30PM
at 42 West 44th
Street, New York NY 10036.  The
increasing linguistic diversity of our city and state poses challenges as the
court system provides access to justice for New Yorkers with limited spoken
English proficiency. The event is free and open to the public. If interested in
attending, please RSVP to LESTERNICOLE@GMAIL.COM

Judge Rajeswari has requested that we publish the information
below from
the Office of Court Administration to all our members and wants to encourage everyone to pass this
information along to anyone who is bilingual or multi lingual and may be interested in becoming a language interpreter
in New York.

The Written English Proficiency Exam (LANGUAGES OTHER
THAN SPANISH)
will be held on June 17, 2017. The deadline to submit applications
is on April 7, 2017. To apply Download the Per-Diem
Application Form
. For more information about these exams please see the Written
and Oral Exam Guide
. All applicants must successfully pass both
the Written and Oral Exams in order to provide court interpreting services in
the New York State Unified Court System. Exam
schedules are posted on the court system’s website: http://nycourts.gov/careers/exams.shtml  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and scheduled exam
dates will be posted online. Applicants will be notified by mail of the
exam date and location.

New York State Office of Court Administration, Advisory Committee on Court Interpreters and Language Access Seeks Comment on Language Access Card

The New York State Office of Court Administration, Advisory Committee led by Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks, seeks to find ways to serve more effectively the pro se and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) litigant community.

The New York State courts provide interpreters for approximately 110 different languages for LEP litigants who have limited resources.  Of those 110 languages, the seven most recurring are Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Polish.

In December 2015, the NYS courts started circulating a new public information tool.  It is a Language Access Card that concisely explains the services that are available.  As a part of the rollout, the NYS courts have prepared the cards in the seven most recurring languages, including Spanish.

We would be interested in any feedback you have on the cards, including likes, dislikes, and suggested improvements. We are also interested in your views and suggestions regarding the services provided by the NYS courts to the LEP litigant community.

Please send your comments to the Chair of the Advisory Committee, Jeffrey Winn at Jeffrey.Winn@acegroup.com. To review the card Click here.

888-API-VOTE Hotline

APIAVoteheader   November 5, 2012  

888-API-VOTE Hotline
Phone lines are open now
 
While enthusiasm for voting is high, voting can be a complicated process, even more so if your first language is not English.  So, it is important for Asian Americans to learn about voting – what type of ID is accepted at the polls, what rights you have when voting – especially the right to language assistance, and what to do if you encounter any problems at the polls.
 
To help Asian Americans vote, AAJC and APIAVote will be running an Asian-language Election Protection hotline, 1-888-API-VOTE (274-8683). on Election Day and the day before Election Day. The hotline will be live from 7:00am -7:00pm on Monday, November 5, and from 5:30am – 7:30pm on Tuesday, November 6.  We will provide assistance in Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai, and Vietnamese.
 
Voters can call in with any questions they have about voting, or to report any problems at the polls.  Questions such as, “where is my polling place?” and “what type of ID should I bring?” can be easily answered by our staff.  Trained staff is also on hand to address any problems that may arise.  For example, if you have difficulty with English, you have the right to bring a friend or family member into the voting booth to help you vote, but not all poll workers may know about this right (as provided by Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act) and may wrongly turn people away.  

If a poll worker wrongly turns you away from the polls because of this or refuses to allow you to vote with the assistance of your choice, call 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) and we can help you address the issue so that you can vote.  In fact, if anyone calls your eligibility to vote into question or tries to hinder your ability to vote for any reason, call 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) and someone will be able to assist you. 

 

AALDEF: Eleven States Must Now Provide Asian American Voters with Bilingual Ballots

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