Court offers Spanish translation
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 9, 2005

Many Latinos in Phoenix have friends and family whose only or primary language is Spanish.

Sure, they may speak and understand a few words in English, but their everyday communication tool is Spanish.

Unfortunately, it's this lack of English that sometimes makes them reluctant to appear in Phoenix Municipal Court if they have been cited for a misdemeanor.

They may be embarrassed to show up or feel uneasy about not knowing English when facing a judge.

Phoenix wants to emphasize that language is not and will never be an issue for Spanish-speaking defendants required to appear in court.

The city provides interpreters at no cost to anyone needing interpretation at one's arraignment or court hearing or any court related matter. Siempre se habla espaņol en la corte.

It all boils down to providing equal access to justice to everybody - including all residents who only speak a language other than English.

This is done so that residents fully understand all court procedures and understand exactly what is happening to them. Spanish-language translation services are provided frequently at the Vladimir A. Cordova Municipal Court Building.

Take for example July. There were approximately 4,500 cases in which Spanish-language translation services were required and provided.

This figure is typical for any given month at the Municipal Court. Other language interpretation services are provided as well. In the same July, there were 76 cases in which interpretation services were provided for languages other than Spanish.

So it's just not Spanish interpretation services that the court provides - it's literally for any language.

The court has nine full-time Spanish-language interpreters and contracts more than a dozen others. These individuals are trained to conduct simultaneous and consecutive translation. In other words, they are listening and - at the same time - translating the entire discussion during a court proceeding.

The interpretation could be as little as five minutes for a traffic citation case to be heard and determined or as long as two full days for a jury trial, for example. For the longer cases, more than one interpreter is usually required due to the duration of the translations being provided.

For a jail court or arraignment appearance, an interpreter is always on hand to provide services at any given moment.

So por favor, encourage your Spanish-language friends or family to show up to court if they've been cited.

Spanish-language is always provided y totalmente gratis!

Information submitted by the city of Phoenix. Contact the court at (602) 262-6421.