We Are the Bridge in More Ways than One

-by Gio Lester ©2016

We often hear the argument that foreigners need to learn English and that interpreting services are a drain in our justice and health care systems. Most of us who work in those fields understand the importance of language services and that they benefit our justice and health care systems just as much or more than they benefit those who depend on them.

The principle of justice is fairness and there can be no fairness without proper communication. Period. By facilitating communication interpreters allow judges and lawyers to fulfill their professional duties. In the health care system, interpreters make sure doctors live up to their “Do no harm” directive: by listening to their patients, doctors can perform accurate diagnosis that will allow for the proper treatment of their patients and avoid recidivism

Title VI is the legislative tool that guides the provision of services, training, qualifications, etc. for language access services.  We invite you to explore the resources after the video to learn a little about it.

Today we just want to say thank you to our colleagues who serve in the Department of Justice, who have come before us and helped forge the path we follow. Our hope is that we are delivering on their hopes and helping to forge a path for the future generations of professionals.

Please enjoy the video.



General data on Title VI: http://www.lep.gov/video/video.html

Executive Order 13166 – Improving Access to Services For People of Limited English Proficiency: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2000-08-16/pdf/00-20938.pdf

EO13166 Resources: http://www.lep.gov/13166/eo13166.html

More Resources on Translation and Interpreting Services for users of T&I services: http://www.lep.gov/interp_translation/trans_interpret.html

4 thoughts on “We Are the Bridge in More Ways than One”

  1. Vicki Santamaria says:

    Sometimes English-only speakers forget that immigrants are often witnesses and victims to crimes, not just perpetrators. The victims and witnesses also deserve their day in court. In the county where I work, the district attorney has made a big effort to get non-English speakers to report crimes. Because of that effort, a woman who worked at a domestic violence shelter who was defrauding the women she was supposed to be helping was successfully prosecuted, as was an immigration attorney who took money from clients but never did anything to help them.
    Obviously, not all the accused are guilty, and only with the help of interpreters can non-English speakers even begin to defend themselves.
    We interpreters are an essential part of the justice system.

    1. Gio Lester says:

      “We interpreters are an essential part of the justice system.” I have nothing to add, Vicki.

      Thank you.

  2. Jennifer De La Cruz says:

    Thanks for the article, Gio! It’s important to remember what a crucial role language access plays in the justice system.

    1. Gio Lester says:

      And culture! These two elements make such a huge difference.

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