Last year, the public defender’s office handled 4,000 Spanish cases out of a total of 5,000. The problem: They only had one Spanish interpreter. To aggravate the situation, Clark County (Nevada) cut their hourly pay by 28 percent and some of the legal interpreters working with contract position did not renew under the new terms.
With such a high volume of Spanish speakers, one can’t help but wonder where the priorities lie. Legal interpretation services can help, for example, lower the amount of people wrongly convicted or, give access to people who could contribute to a country. We cannot rely on people who “speak” a language but have no knowledge of the legal system to perform such a delicate task. To be an interpreter requires very specific skills that must be supported by years of study and training. You wouldn’t go to a doctor when you are sick and say: Well doc, I have THIS much to pay you or this is what I’m WILLING to pay you, cure me!