As Seattle’s King County has grown increasingly diverse, interpreters have become integral players in the state’s largest court, says the Seattle Times. Court interpreters typically work as private contractors and travel to courts across the state as needed, participate in criminal proceedings as well as civil cases and family-law matters.
The National Institute of Justice singled out King County Superior Court’s Office of Interpreter Services (OIS) as one of three model programs in the U.S. in a 2006 report examining how well the nation’s courts help non-English-speaking, battered women obtain protection orders against their abusers. In the past year, OIS — which has a $1.1 million budget — found interpreters to participate in 3,000 cases Falam Chin, a language spoken in western Myanmar, became the 139th language that the office had to find someone to interpret. Spanish always has been the most-requested language to be interpreted, followed by Vietnamese and Russian.