Nebraska Considered a “Powerhouse” of Court Interpreter Talent

Nebraska Considered a “Powerhouse” of Court Interpreter Talent

Thursday, February 16, 2017

“Nebraska is a relative powerhouse for interpreter talent,” says Robert Cruz, Executive Director of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (NAJIT), referring to an invitation for several Nebraska interpreters to teach at a nationally-sponsored conference of interpreters. In May 2017, four of Nebraska’s exceptionally talented certified Spanish interpreters will present continuing education sessions at NAJIT’s 38th annual conference in the Washington, D.C. area. Nebraska interpreters are enthusiastic representatives of the Judicial Branch language access program. Interpreter Lilia Uitts of Valley, Nebraska declared, “We are proud to represent a State where our profession is highly respected and allowed to flourish.” Presenters at the NAJIT conference are experts in their field and diligently prepare to share their knowledge with colleagues across the county. Interpreter Kelly Varguez of Omaha, Nebraska, reports, “Karen (Bahr of Omaha, Nebraska) and I have been working on this for a long time and are really excited to share.” Federally certified court interpreter Laura Garcia-Hein of Omaha, summed up the Nebraska experience saying, “Lilia, Kelly and Karen have indeed been doing an outstanding job in preparing and exploring new, exciting ways to improve the legal interpreting profession. Even more praiseworthy, thanks to their generous, collaborative spirit --hopefully-- characteristic of our trade, they have already been presenters in several interpreter and translator conferences. They continue to be invited to speak in other states, where they are able to share their knowledge and expertise. It is encouraging and exciting to see that the future of our profession is in such good hands.” Session titles and presenters are listed below. As Nebraska Education Telecommunications Radio reported on February 15, 2017, last year, Nebraska resettled more refugees per capita than any other state, and that Nebraska has been a top refugee resettlement location for years. “Language is fundamental for new Americans, and can take years to master,” said Lincoln Literacy Executive Director Clayton Naff. “It's the gateway skill to everything else in our society. In order to get a job they need basic oral proficiency and basic literacy,” Naff said. The Judicial Branch Language Access Program provides for the recruitment, testing, training and certification of interpreters, and coordinates the appointment of qualified interpreters across the state to avoid injustice, and to facilitate the communication of limited English proficient participants in Nebraska courts and probation services. The constitutional rights of persons unable to communicate in the English language cannot be fully protected unless interpreters are available to assist such persons in legal proceedings. Session titles and presenters: •SIMULTANEOUS EXERCISES FOR THE EXPERIENCED INTERPRETER◦Kelly Varguez and Karen Bahr •THE ETHICAL INTERPRETER: BUILDING DAILY HABITS FOR CONTINUAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT◦Kelly Varguez •THE 21ST CENTURY WAR ON DRUGS IN THE NSA ERA AND NEW SURVEILLANCE TECHNIQUES◦Lilia Uitts •A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO TRICKY FEDERAL COURT TERMINOLOGY◦Laura Garcia-Hein and five colleagues For more information on language access in Nebraska’s courts, contact: Jennifer A. Verhein Statewide Language Access Coordinator Nebraska State Court Administrator’s Office 402-471-8854