Between Principles and Practice: The Need for Certified Court Interpreters in North Carolina
Deborah M. Weissman
University of North Carolina School of Law
North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 78, p. 1899, September 2000
North Carolina demographics are shifting rapidly to include increasing numbers of Latinos. Response to the changing population varies from constructive adaptation and supportive policies to hostile and nativist reactions that deny and deprive Latino residents of their human and legal rights. Often decisive in defining differences, language represents perhaps the most notable obstacle that arises as Latinos weave themselves into the tapestry of North Carolina communities. Many Latinos speak Spanish and have only limited proficiency in English, and in North Carolina, as elsewhere in the United States, an individual's inability to speak English often results in discrimination and disadvantages. Because Latinos may have a heightened need to seek redress of wrongs experienced due to their newcomer or outsider status, access to the courts through certified, competent court interpreters is central to the manner in which North Carolina undergoes this dramatic demographic transformation. The courts' response to Latino newcomers will influence how they are treated by individuals and institutions in the state. North Carolina should adopt a statutory approach expanding the availability of court interpreters to all legal proceedings and ensuring the competence of those who interpret.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: interpreters, courts, foreign language discrimination, access to courts, civil rightsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 26, 2006
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