Advocacy Tool Kit: Pitfalls to avoid

Neglecting to include ALL interpreters:

Remember that as court interpreters, we’re in this together, whether we’re per diem or staff; certified or non-certified; spoken or sign language interpreters; or interpreters of frequently-requested languages or language of lesser diffusion. Don’t let old grudges and personality differences distract you from your overall goal. Assume everyone is doing the best they can with their particular circumstances.  Unity will only benefit you and your colleagues.

Lacking focus on the priorities.

The issues may be many, but identifying the most pressing ones will allow you to focus your research and strategies.

Ignoring the needs/wants of the court.

Our goal is to present recommendations that benefit both interpreters AND the courts. Find ways to express how the changes you seek are good for the courts, not just for interpreters

Not researching the decision-making process in your state regarding court Interpreter issues.

Be sure to identify all the key stakeholders in the court system so you know whom to reach out to.  In your jurisdiction, you may be well served by creating relationships with Language Access Committee members, judges and attorney associations, court administrators, and key legislators. And be sure to get a sense of relevant rules, regulations, and legislation. 

Forgetting the Golden Rule.

Treat everyone how you would like to be treated, which can be easy to forget in the heat of things.