SJI supports language access in the state courts through remote interpretation (outside the courtroom), interpreter training and certification, courtroom services (plain language forms, websites, etc.), and addressing the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.
Towards Statewide Language Access in Louisiana via Targeted Online Training Modules
The Louisiana Supreme Court recently enacted its first statewide Language Access Plan (LAP) to improve language access services in its courts. This project supports the creation of online training modules that are individually tailored to courts and individual justice system partners, including attorneys, clerks of court, and sheriffs. The modules will be developed through a partnership with the National Center for State Courts.
Translation Implementation Project
The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), in conjunction with a translation subcommittee made up of linguists, local court administrators, attorneys, and judges will apply the principles and processes set forth in the UJS Translation Policy & Procedures Manual to initiate translation of the most critical statewide court forms, specifically landlord-tenant and expungement. Additionally, the project will lay the foundation for a permanent process for inventorying, analyzing, and prioritizing statewide court forms through a statewide committee. The project will greatly increase access to courts for limited English proficient court users and will be a valuable resource to judges and court staff, especially language access coordinators (LACs).
New Mexico Scribing Program: Training and Multilingual Communications Resources
The New Mexico Judiciary Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is working with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to assist with the development and implementation of a Scribing Program Training and Development of Multilingual Communication Resources Program. The innovative scribing program allows trained court staff and trained volunteers to assist self-represented litigants with limited English proficiency (LEP), disability and low literacy rates by reading necessary forms aloud in English or by sight translating them into the target foreign language, and then filling in the blanks on the forms using the words spoken by the court user. Through the development of online training modules and resources, the AOC will not only be able to assist courts with recruiting and training scribing volunteers but will also be able to ensure that interested courts in New Mexico can launch scribing services in accordance with statewide guidelines. Training resources and modules will be made available online and, while being developed for use in New Mexico, such resources may also be of use to other state programs interested in developing and implementing a similar scribing service.
Language Access Project
The District of Columbia Courts is working with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to develop an Amharic Language Court Interpreter Certification Exam, and implement a formal court interpreter testing and training program. The project will enable the Courts to formalize a training and testing program for interpreters that provides education on the various aspects of court interpreting, such as courtroom expectations, ethics, and other key topics.
Plain Language Forms Project
The Colorado Office of the State Court Administrator worked with Transcend® to translate and provide court forms and instructions in plain language for self-represented litigants. A Plain Language Forms Committee was formed and together they translated over seventy-five forms and provided training to court staff and additional project stakeholders on the new forms, and prepared courts to continue developing forms and instructions into plain language.
Honolulu District Court Plain Language English Translation and Training
The Hawaii State Judiciary partnered with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to improve access to justice for self-represented litigants by revising civil court forms so they are written in plain language. The revised forms also reduce court time spent processing forms that are incorrect.