Court language interpreter seminar set for Oct. 7-8 in Tupelo

The Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts will conduct a seminar to introduce bilingual speakers to the requirements for court interpreting on Oct. 7-8 in Tupelo.

The Ethics and Skill Building Seminar will be conducted at the Community Development Foundation Renasant Center for Ideas Training Room in Tupelo and at the Lee County Justice Center. Participants should arrive at the Renasant Center by 8 a.m. Oct. 7 to sign in. Presentations are scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 8.

The afternoon session on Oct. 8 will be at the courthouse. Senior Chancery Judge Jacqueline Mask will talk to participants at 1:30 p.m.  A mock trial presentation is scheduled for 2 p.m. An agenda is at  http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/forms/AGENDA-OCT2015%20%20(00000002).pdf.

A written examination will be given Oct. 9 for participants who wish to pursue certification and be able to work in Mississippi court proceedings. The written exam will be given at the Community Development Foundation Renasant Center from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Advance registration is required for the seminar and the exam. The registration deadline for both is Sept. 25. The fee to attend the seminar is $75. The exam fee is $25. A seminar registration form is available at http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/forms/Application%20for%20Seminar%20%20OCTOBER%202015.pdf. An application form for the written exam is at

http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/writtenexamination/WRITTENEXAM%20OCT2015%20(00000002).pdf.

Three seminars are conducted each year in the northern, central and southern regions of the state. The next seminar will be held in January 2016 in Jackson.

Participation in a seminar is the first step in the program which will train, certify, and test individuals who wish to serve as interpreters in the courtrooms of Mississippi. The seminar outlines requirements to achieve credentialing as a registered or certified courtroom interpreter. The seminar introduces  interpreting in legal settings including the courtroom, depositions and other legal proceedings. Court interpreters must understand court proceedings as well as be fluent in English and a second language. Interpreters must be highly skilled in all modes of interpreting.

Administrative Office of Courts Deputy Director Ta’Shia Gordon will give an overview of Mississippi’s Court Interpreter Credentialing Program at the start of the Oct. 7 program. The seminar presenter is Certified Spanish Court Interpreter Georgina Barvie’ of Gulfport.

The AOC developed the Mississippi Court Interpreter Credentialing Program to assist state courts in their endeavors to provide equal access to justice for limited English proficiency individuals. The AOC  program provides  all state courts with a list of  language interpreters who have demonstrated proficiency in oral and written interpretation of court proceedings. The credentialing program provides two levels of proficiency: registered and certified. Certified is the more advanced level.

Language interpreters may be included on the list after having completed the AOC’s credentialing program. The searchable registry is at this link: http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/registry.html.

Gordon said, “Language access in the courts is vital to preserving the integrity of our legal system. Individuals with limited English proficiency must have access to an interpreter to understand court proceedings and their legal rights.”

AOC officials hope to  train and issue credentials to interpreters in many languages. The biggest need is for those who speak Spanish or Vietnamese.

Fifteen interpreters currently are credentialed by AOC. Eight interpreters are certified. Two people from Gulfport and one each from  French Camp, Memphis, Tenn., Nashville, Tenn., and Cordova, Tenn., are certified as Spanish language interpreters. One interpreter from Clinton is certified in Russian, and one from Goodlettsville, Tenn., is certified in Mandarin Chinese. Seven others from Brandon, Gulfport, Hazlehurst, Jackson, Newton and New Augusta, S.C., are registered Spanish-speaking interpreters.

AOC adopted Standards for Court Interpreters and a Code of Ethics for Court Interpreters on Oct. 17, 2011. The rules for court interpreters apply to municipal court, justice court, youth court, county court, circuit court, chancery court and grand jury proceedings. Rules regarding certification are at this link: http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/rules_on_standards.pdf. Other information about the interpreter program may be found here:  http://courts.ms.gov/aoc/courtinterpreter/resources.html.

The   AOC standards and code of ethics are modeled on standards for language interpretation adopted by the National Center for State Courts’ Consortium for Language Access in the Courts. The Mississippi AOC is a member of the Consortium. Court interpreters who are certified in other Consortium member states may seek reciprocity.

For additional information, contact Ta’Shia Gordon at 601-576-4632.

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