Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Tennessee Ranks Near the Top in Providing Courtroom Language Assistance

April 17, 2014

The statewide courtroom interpreter program was ranked sixth in the country by a national agency for work in offering language assistance to those that are unable to speak and understand English.

The National Center for Access to Justice at the Cardozo School of Law published its “Justice Index” and found Tennessee to be tied for sixth best in the nation in providing quality language aid to limited English proficient individuals in courts.

By Tennessee Supreme Court Rule, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) assists courts in this state in providing equal access to the courts to any participant who has a limited ability to speak or understand the English language.

To that end, the court interpreter program seeks to recruit and certify qualified interpreters through a rigorous testing program. Interpreters also may be classified as registered or non-credentialed if they have not completed all stages of the qualifications to become certified.

The AOC also provides assistance to judges and court personnel in locating the best interpreter for their needs in the courtroom.

“This recognition is the culmination of years of hard work by many individuals who have recognized that justice requires that a participant in the courtroom be able to fully understand the proceedings,” said Administrative Office of the Courts Director Bill Young.

The latest addition to Tennessee’s court interpreter program is a remote interpreter pilot project in Sumner County. In that project, interpreters provide language interpretationvia video conference, so there is no need to spend time or money traveling to a courthouse.

To review the report, please go to: http://www.justiceindex.org/findings/language-assistance/

For more information about access to justice issues, please go to:  http://www.justiceindex.org/

For more information about the Tennessee Courts’ Interpreter Program, go to http://www.tncourts.gov/programs/court-interpreters