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Creighton University Works with Nebraska Supreme Court to Meet Language Needs of the Legal Community

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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Creighton University School of Law hosted Orientation for Nebraska Court Interpreters September 8-9, 2012.  Twenty-one prospective interpreters, speaking a total of 12 languages, received instruction from Federally Certified Spanish Court Interpreters Jeck Navarrete and Laura Garcia-Hein.  Among many other areas of study, training topics included ethics, court procedures, and types of interpretation needed in Nebraska Courts. 

According to Sheryl Connolly, Trial Court Services Director for Nebraska Supreme Court’s Administrative Office of the Courts, “Meeting the need for qualified interpreters is an ever-increasing challenge for the courts.  Orientation is the first step in the Nebraska Supreme Court’s program to provide certified interpreters and provide qualified interpreter services for Nebraska’s court users.”  Connolly added, “We greatly appreciate the Creighton University School of Law’s support for this critical program.”

The 1990 to 2010 U.S. Census shows that Nebraska’s limited English proficient population –those who speak a language other than English in the home – grew from 22,000 to 76,000, an increase of 242%.

Interpreters attending orientation included speakers of Spanish, French, Hmong, Tai, Burmese, Laotian, Mandarin, Arabic, Gbaya, Cantonese, Portuguese, and Kurdish.

In order to be certified as a Nebraska Court interpreter, applicants must take the two-day orientation and pass a written English comprehension exam.  After successfully completing orientation and the comprehension exam, those applicants who speak one of the 16 languages for which certification examinations are available are then eligible to take an oral exam of their sight, consecutive and simultaneous interpreting skills.  For other languages, provisional certification is available based upon the interpreter’s education, experience and other factors.

Statistics regarding interpreters for the 2011-2012 budget year, provided by Nebraska State Courts, showed that Spanish was the most frequently needed language as Spanish interpreters provided service for over 18,000 individuals during the year.  Interpreters of 40 other languages provided service on 2,381 occasions, with those assignments ranging from a 15-minute telephonic assignment for a bond hearing to a four-week jury trial.   After Spanish, the most commonly needed languages in Nebraska courts are Arabic (Middle East and North Africa), Nuer (Ethiopia and Sudan), Vietnamese, and Somali, in addition to American Sign (certified through the Commission on Deaf and Hard of Hearing).



2012 Fall Interpreter Orientation attendees and instructors at the Creighton University School of Law - Doyle Courtroom. 

This page was last modified on Tuesday, October 16, 2012