The Interbranch Commission implements recommendations from the Report of The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in The Justice System. View the Report
Chaired by Leonard Rivera, Esq., the Interpreter Services Committee's overarching initiative is to improve access among litigants of limited English proficiency to interpreter and translation services in the Commonwealth's courts and administrative agencies. In support of its priority, the Committee has studied the availability of language interpretation services throughout the Commonwealth's administrative agencies, resulting in the production of its report, Interpretation and Translation Services in Commonwealth Administrative Agencies.
The Committee also played a key role in the passage of Act 172, which established a certification system for court interpreters and mandated that interpreters be provided in certain court and most administrative proceedings. The Committee works closely with Osvaldo Aviles, the director of the Interpreter Services Program within the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, to educate Pennsylvania judicial districts about their responsibilities under the law and the state regulations regarding the provision of interpreter services. See the links under Reports, at right, for the website maintained by the Office of Interpreter Services for more information on interpreter services within the Pennsylvania court system, including the statewide roster of certified or otherwise qualified interpreters maintained by Mr. Aviles' office, guidelines for the procurement of interpreters, training sessions and bilingual court documents. See, also at right, a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer concerning the establishment of more stringent requirements for court interpreters in Pennsylvania.
The Committee also collaborates with Widener University's Legal Education Institute to provide training for interpreters, judges, and attorneys on the proper use of interpreters in court and administrative proceedings. The most recent of these seminars are: (1) What It Takes to Be A Court Interpreter in the Haitian Creole Language, which took place on April 2, 2011 in Philadelphia; and (2) How to Prepare for the Written and Oral Exam For Court Interpreters in the Vietnamese Language (pdf), which took place on September 17-18, 2011 in Philadelphia.
The Committee's priorities are based on the Final Report of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Committee on Racial, and Gender Bias in the Justice System. For detailed information on the study's findings and the initiatives as they relate to interpreter services, please see Chapter One of the Report.