A resolution - NAJIT

[The following resolution was drafted by the NAJIT Board of Directors for the Federal Court Interpreters Workshop that was held by the Federal Judicial Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last month. The original has been mailed to Lydia Pelegrin, Chief of the District Court Administration Division of the Administrative Office of the US Courts; a copy will be published in the forthcoming PROTEUS, the newsletter of NAJIT.    --D. Mintz]

 A Resolution 

adopted by the undersigned participants in the Federal Court Interpreters Workshop sponsored by the Federal Judicial Center, January 18-19, 1997.

Whereas, the Code of Professional Responsibility drafted by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts compels interpreters to interpret accurately and faithfully; and

Whereas, said code also compels interpreters to perform to the best of their ability to ensure due process for the parties; and

Whereas, said code further compels interpreters to refuse any assignment under conditions which substantially impair their effectiveness; and

Whereas, each word mistranslated or omitted hinders non-English- speaking defendants' ability to follow the proceedings against them, thus placing them at a disadvantage before the bar of justice; and

Whereas, scientific studies have shown that interpreting involves extremely complex cognitive processes that require a high degree of concentration, and that accuracy decreases markedly after approximately one half hour of sustained interpreting; and 

Whereas, it is impossible to ensure a faithful rendition of the proceedings unless interpreters are provided with adequate relief; and 

Whereas, entities such as the State Department, the United Nations Organization, the European Commission, the International Red Cross and the International Court of Justice recognize that interpreters cannot guarantee accuracy unless they work in teams; and

Whereas, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is charged with the responsibility of providing adequate interpreting services;

Therefore, be it resolved: that we, the undersigned court interpreters, abiding by our sworn duty to interpret faithfully, accurately and completely, reaffirm the position that interpreting in teams is essential in order to guarantee the due process rights of litigants, and we urge the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to adopt the policy that adequate relief through team interpreting must be provided for any proceeding expected to last more than thirty  minutes, and to undertake to inform judges, court clerks and other administrators of the compelling reasons for this policy and the need to implement it. 

  [there follow signatures, names and addresses of 62 interpreters]