Regular reader and researcher par excellence, ‘pungentpeppers,’ has put together some samples of the growing problems with interpretation services increasingly needed as immigrants from around the world require court interpreters (something we have been noting a lot lately).
Woeful week for interpretation
INTERPRETER WOES aplenty this past week: wrongful interpretation suit; mistrial called because a foreign-language-speaking juror was on a case; no interpreters available to work for a terrorist; and an interpreter goes berserk.
The City of Portland (Oregon) is named as a defendant in a $3 million wrongful death-by-misinterpretation lawsuit. The Spanish-speaking husband of Elidiana Valdez-Lemus called 9-1-1 for help after his wife could not breath. His call was referred to a professional interpreter who may have mixed up the address “2601 111th Avenue” with “2600 101st Avenue”. Also named in the suit are Language Line Translation Solutions, Lingo Systems, Language Line Service, AT&T Corp. and the unknown name of the company that provided the Spanish-language interpreter. ….. Sue and put them all out of business! (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/spanish_interpreter_botched_9-.html)
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, a judge declared a mistrial in a murder case because a juror understood Vietnamese, a language spoken by one of the witnesses. Kevyphonh Sounyaphong was on trial for the strangulation death of Sakounsouk Vilayhong. An Vietnamese interpreter was brought to translate the testimony of a witness for the defense. One of the jurors disagreed with the interpretation and may have said something that was tantamount to introducing new evidence to the case. ….. Moral: never put anyone on the jury who understands any of the foreign languages that may be heard in the courtroom. Interpretation is just one person’s “interpretation” of what another person said, and there are often disagreements. (http://www.4029tv.com/news/mistrial-in-fort-smith-trial-over-womans-death/25536964)
Maybe nobody wants to work for a terrorist? Bernard Kleinman, the attorney for Libyan Al-Qaeda suspect, Anas al-Libi (real name Nazih Abdul Hamed al-Raghie), is complaining that he cannot find an Arabic interpreter in North Carolina. …. You can’t force people to work for a terrorist if they don’t want to. (http://news.yahoo.com/libyan-qaeda-suspect-deprived-rights-us-jail-213417624.html)
And finally from Ireland the story of the Interpreter Gone Berserk. Damaris Dickenson, a Kenyan interpreter, assaulted a 20-month-old boy by spitting on him after she flew into a rage because the toddler was kicking the back of her seat while traveling on a bus. Damaris also spit on the boy’s father, who is from China. Judge Ann Watkin stated that Damaris had “lied through her teeth” when she falsely accused the bus passengers of ganging up on her and abusing her racially. She was given a suspended sentence. ….. Since she made up the racial abuse story, maybe she makes up stories when she interprets, too? (http://www.herald.ie/news/courts/woman-who-spat-in-babys-face-on-bus-is-spared-jail-30188114.html)
Note to “welcoming” communities: It is federal law in America that your local jurisdiction provide “qualified” court interpreters (at public expense) for immigrants in court for whatever reason.