Interpreters play a vital role in access to justice, reports Ohio Supreme Court

Court News Ohio recently offered a profile of certified court interpreter Catherine Piña Arrieta, who is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. Arrieta serves as an interpreter for the Cleveland Municipal Court and has traveled to courts all over the state to educate court staff about using interpreters. The Supreme Court of Ohio began certifying interpreters in 2010 and rolled out new rules in 2013, requiring courts to use certified foreign and sign language interpreters when they are available. Federal and state laws also provide requirements for when to use an interpreter, which the Court describes, here.

The Court's Language Services Program is responsible for certifying interpreters, ensuring that they have appropriate training and requiring them to pass both an oral and a written test. According to the Court's website, the program also "provides technical assistance and services, training, resource creation and policy recommendations to improve equal access to courts in cases involving limited English proficient, deaf and hard of hearing individuals." Program manager Bruno Romero accentuates the importance of court interpreters, stating that they are "crucial for providing equal access to justice." The program provides certification in 20 languages.

The importance of providing high quality interpreters is a view that is shared by Cleveland Municipal Court, according to the article, which highlights statements by Administrative and Presiding Judge Ronald B. Adrine that proper interpretation is required to ensure due process for litigants and to protect the record of proceedings. Arrieta and many other certified interpreters serve Ohio courts to further these ends.

For more information about scheduling an interpreter for a hearing in Hamilton County Municipal or Common Pleas Court, see this link. Local rules provides information about these services in Domestic Relations Court and Probate Court.