Court Interpreters Get Help
From World Journal
March 20, 2002
The Jade Council, a support group for Asian Americans who work
for courts in New York State was established last night.
It is the first group of its kind for Asian Americans in New York
State courts, following the establishment of similar groups for
Hispanic, African, Irish and Jewish Americans. Its members will
call attention to issues surrounding the growing demand for Chinese-language
translation services and advocate for promotion opportunities for
Asian American employees in the court system.
The council was initiated by Ling Teh-li, who co-founded the Asian
American Bar Association of New York and is currently a judge at
the New York State Civil Court. She noted that there are more than
100 potential members for the council in the New York State court
system, including criminal, civil and family courts, and the positions
they hold range from judges, research assistants to court interpreters.
Ling stressed that translation services are in great demand in
New York State courts because of the rapid growth in the Chinese
population in recent years. She added that often time she has to
postpone trials because there is no translator.
Lu Chung-ming, who has served as an interpreter at the civil court
for three years, said he has to deal with five to six cases on an
average daily basis. In some cases, the defendant may speak Mandarin
but the plaintiff speaks Cantonese. In addition to translating between
Mandarin and Cantonese, he has to translate the testimonials into
English and that can be a time-consuming task.
Within the current New York State court system, Lu is the only
Chinese interpreter in the civil court. There are two Chinese interpreters
in the Manhattan Criminal Court, one in the Brooklyn Criminal Court,
and two in Queens.
In the Court of Appeals, there is one interpreter in Manhattan
and Queens respectively. Both of them have tremendous workloads
and are constantly overworked.
Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.
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