14 Feb Free Spanish Court Interpretation Service Expanding
This week’s post comes to us from our colleagues in Texas. Big thank you to Marco Hanson for sharing and making this post possible. Keep up the great work folks, and Happy Valentine’s Day. – Kevin
Office of Court Administration
Free Spanish Court Interpretation Service Expanding
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2014
AUSTIN – This month the Office of Court Administration (OCA) announced the expansion of its remote interpreter services. Known as TCRIS (Texas Court Remote Interpreter Service), the program is based in Austin, but open to judges in every county for just the cost of a phone call or video-conference.
“We are excited to bring this service to courtrooms across the state,” said David Slayton, Administrative Director for the Texas Office of Court Administration. “Having licensed and experienced interpreters increases access to justice and makes the court process more efficient and effective.”
Legal Aid Attorneys with Spanish-speaking clients who need interpretation services in the courtroom can contact TCRIS in advance by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (512-463-5656). TCRIS interpreters have to make arrangements with the court coordinator and verify that the judge will permit remote interpretation prior to the interpreter services being rendered. Depending on call volume, the service is also available on-demand when unexpected needs arise for courtroom interpretation.
TCRIS interpreters are licensed by the state and experienced in Texas law. Appropriate hearings for remote interpretation are those which would normally last half an hour or less and involve no complex evidence, such as:
· Plea hearings
· Bail hearings
· Pre-trial motions
· Prove-ups of uncontested divorces
· Some hearings for evictions and protective orders.
For trials and other longer, more complex hearings, courts are still referred to on-site licensed interpreters.
The goal of this program is to increase access to justice for Spanish-speakers in the court system. Already in its first few weeks, the service has been used frequently and with success.
“The simplicity, reliability and quality of OCA’s telephone interpretation is truly amazing and we intend to use them often in the future,” said Rob Hoffman, District Court Judge for the 452nd Judicial District.
OCA has offered telephonic interpretation in the past for domestic violence, child protection and child support hearings, but with additional funding from the Texas Legislature, interpretation has now expanded to include short hearings in all courts and all case types. For more information see: www.txcourts.gov/oca/TCRIS/ .
Director of Public Affairs & Special Counsel
Language Access Coordinator