Aug. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Patterson: U.S. Justice System Faces a ‘Language Crisis’

Integrating video technology also allows remote interpreting to cater to an underserved population — hearing-
impaired constituents. When people think of remote interpreting, often the hearing impaired are forgotten; however, this population, in particular, desperately needs video interpreting as these individuals must be able to see the interpreter. The lack of interpreters for this community has resulted in numerous injustices.

By having interpreters on demand through the remote interpreting system, American Sign Language-certified interpreters can be contacted to provide services for hearing-impaired litigants or litigators at the flip of a switch, helping citizens receive a fair and speedy trial.

One other issue is certification. Contract interpreters are not necessarily certified. Remote interpreting resolves this problem by specifically driving traffic to certain interpreters, resulting in a higher quality of interpretative services during court processes. With a pool of on-call, highly skilled and certified interpreters, courts can ensure the quality of their interpreting service. In addition, personnel with the correct skills can be identified quickly, maximizing time and resources.

Not only is remote interpreting a necessity to protect legal rights, it is also one of the few ways for local and state courts to meet the increased demand within limited budgets. We have seen a savings of as much as 50 percent by using remote interpreting, a crucial savings in today’s budgetary environment. But, most importantly, this is a fair and equitable way for justice to be served.

Boyd Patterson served for 29 years as a judge in Dallas County, Texas. He is currently employed by Cisco acting as a resident expert and adviser on videoconferencing in law enforcement and judicial fields.

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