Advocacy

Advocacy Agenda for Interpreters and Translators Working in Court and Legal Settings

According to the American Community Survey Report of 2011, 22.4 percent of the U.S. population spoke English “not well” or “not at all.” Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 13166, and numerous state laws and regulations require language services to ensure meaningful access to programs and activities for these individuals. Providing this assistance in judicial settings is particularly important for victims, defendants, civil litigants, and witnesses; and requires the services of well-trained and highly skilled professional interpreters and translators.

The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) was founded in 1978 in order to build professionalism among interpreters and translators working in the courts and other legal and law-enforcement settings, to support language access to the courts, and to educate the public about the need for qualified and well-trained professional judiciary interpreters and translators.

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In furtherance of its purpose, NAJIT has spoken out on many issues, including the following:

May 15, 2017NAJIT Advocacy Priorities. A resource prepared by our Advocacy Committee and designed by our prior Chair about NAJIT’s advocacy priorities and some important figures regarding our association’s members.

April 24, 2017 – Advocacy 101 for Interpreters and Translators. A resource prepared by NAJIT’s Advocacy Committee on what advocacy is, its importance, and how to advocate for our profession.

February 25, 2017NAJIT Advocacy Day Survey Results

May 2016 – Red T Letter

April 25, 2013Court Interpreter Compensation

May 25, 2012Lost in Translation: NAJIT responds to a New York Times article on the outcome of Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan.

July 27, 2011Texas Rule Change: Provided comments to proposed rules which would create a second, lower-qualified tier of licensed court interpreters.

July 12, 2011Charlotte, North Carolina Organizations: Written to various organizations in Charlotte in support of their complaint to the Department of Justice regarding the failure of North Carolina to provide qualified court interpreters.

May 19, 2011Athens, TN: Chair Rob Cruz comments on the statement of a judge that he “speak[s] some Spanish and can tell he does a good job.”

December 13, 2010Salt Lake: Written to applaud the editorial stance of the Salt Lake Tribune, and to join it, deploring the intention of the Utah Judicial Council to ignore the plain guidance of the U.S. Department of Justice regarding assistant to LEP persons.

September 16, 2010Assistant Attorney General Perez Letter: Written in support of the guidance letter issues on August 16, 2010 by AAG Thomas Perez.

July 19, 2010Comments on Department of Homeland Security LEP Guidelines: Written to the Judge and staff writer involved in a case where a friend of the defendant was appointed to interpreter in court.

March 23, 2010Tennessee HB 262/SB 63: Collaborated with TAPIT in opposing HB 262/SB 63, which would require that all driving license materials be printed only in English.

December 2, 2009Nashville English-only: Collaborated with the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT) in opposing Nashville’s English-only legislation.

September 24, 2009California State University at Long Beach (CSULB) Interpreter Program: Written to CSULB to urge them to reconsider its decision to discontinue its highly-regarded program in interpreting and translation.

July 13, 2009Kohl S 1329: Written to support Senator Herbert Kohl’s legislation for grants to states to develop and implement court interpreter programs.

June 3, 2009Texas HB 4445: Written to Texas Governor Perry to oppose the creation of a second, less-capable tier of licensed interpreters.

March 1, 2009Relatives Interpreting: Issued a statement deploring the use of a suspect’s brother as an interpreter for his interrogation.

November 22, 2008Unmasking Iraqi Interpreters: Written to Secretary of Defense Gates opposing regulations requiring that interpreters in Iraq work without masks.

September 11, 2008Afghani Interpreters:. Written to Senators Levin and McCain, Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, supporting the extension of special immigrant visas to Afghani interpreters.

July 15, 2008News Release/Camayd/Freixas: Drafted a news release about the ethical issues raised by the statement of Erik Camayd-Freixas.

May 29, 2008Ohio HB 477/SB 260: Written to oppose two companion English-only bills in the Ohio legislature.

March 12, 2008Maryland SB 256: Written in opposition to Maryland SB 225, an ill-conceived reaction to the dismissal of the case involving a Vai-speaking defendant.

June 26, 2007Maryland Vai Case: Collaboration with NAJIT’s Board of Directors and the American Translators Association to produce a joint statement about the failure of a Maryland court to locate a competent interpreter for a Vai-speaking defendant; the case against the defendant was dismissed for lack of timely prosecution because of the delay in finding an interpreter.

June 12, 2007Hawai’i Rules: Response to a request for comment by the Hawai’i Judiciary Public Affairs Office regarding proposed rules governing court interpreters.

April 27, 2007California AB 615: Written in support of AB 615, a bill to improve langauge services to LEPs in disaster situations.

April 12, 2007Kohl Bill: Written in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Herbert Kohl regarding services to LEP individuals.

January 2007Virginia Letters:. Worked with a member regarding courts in Virginia that did not use certified interpreters, although required to do so. The committee wrote individually to a large number of state court judges, urging that they comply with Judicial Council rules.