Equal access

Seven Questions for the Nevada Court Interpreter Program

I have just now found out that the proposal for the creation of a Conditionally Approved Court Interpreter has already been approved, apparently last Friday on October 7th, in spite of the content of the agenda for the Advisory Committee’s meeting for today (Wednesday, October 12) which has language clearly suggesting that there are no guidelines for this new credentialing category yet. I am amazed by the apparently secretive haste to approve this, without as much as an explicit invitation for public input from the interpreter community, as well as by the lack of argumentation offered to justify such an initiative with a destructive impact on not just our profession but on language access in Nevada courts.

Given that this Advisory Committee saw fit to approve a patently unsound idea, I have the following seven questions that I would like the Advisory Committee to answer, seeing as they saw fit to lend their voice of approval to it:

  1. What is the renewal rate in Nevada for certified and registered court interpreters after one, two and more renewal cycles, and how do these figures compare to for example certification and registration renewals for court interpreters in California?
  2. What justification would the Advisory Committee offer for lowering the testing standards for aspiring conditionally approved court interpreters below the minimum acceptable levels of competence for aspiring court interpreters so as to be able to work in court, as established by the experts of the National Center for State Courts?
  3. Why is the passing score for aspiring conditionally approved court interpreters in non-designated languages in their oral proficiency interviews even below near-fluency, even while their active court interpreting skills aren’t measured whatsoever?
  4. What are the percentages, even by approximation, of the cases that go unheard due to unavailability of a duly accredited court interpreter, in the four demographically largest counties, by case type?
  5. Is it the intent of the Advisory Committee to propose the introduction of the conditionally approved court interpreter to subsume the role of the alternate court interpreter, created three years ago by the Nevada legislature?
  6. What criteria have been proposed, regarding establishment and documentation of due diligence efforts to locate a duly accredited court interpreter, so as to allow the alternative use of a conditionally approved court interpreter?
  7. What credentials of expertise can the Advisory Committee offer in the specific area of assessing court interpreter skills, knowledge and abilities, and producing the related necessary objective, standardized and comparable metrics?

I will publish any answer formally given by the Court Interpreter Program here.

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