|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Politics Languages Police Public policy|
Citizens have a right to law enforcement services, and the police are the ideal representation of the law enforcement concept in the eye of the public. At county levels, sheriffs are responsible for law enforcement, ensuring that federal laws are followed. Legal interpretation is a common concept in law enforcement, and it asserts that people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have a right to quality interpretation when facing the law. Interpreters work side by side with the police starting from investigation to court-proceeding processes. The police play a critical role in ensuring that legal interpretation is observed with due diligence.
As a newly- elected sheriff to a rural county in California known for its significant Vietnamese population, I am faced with the task to formulate a plan to ensure all of my residents have language interpreters for providing law enforcement services. Since my county has a small tax base, federal funding is crucial to my budget. Agencies receiving federal financial aid are required in federal law to take logical steps in providing significant access to the LEP community. Koning (2009) states that Federal guidelines necessitate the provision of interpreters to anyone with LEP in the courtroom or when attending court-ordered programs like anger management lessons. However, the provision of interpreters to my residents is surrounded by certain constraints. I have to work along with some parameters such as a tight budget; the county has four substations, the modes of interpretation, types of training, and interpreter turnovers.
Four police substations mean more personnel needed for the interpreter job. Keeping in mind that I have a tight budget, which makes the full-time appointment of interpreters difficult, I plan to use bilingual officers present in all four stations as an alternative. The duty to remain impartial and providing accurate translations is paramount in a legal context. Personnel who are bilingual should be trained professionally to understand the legal system, its terms, and police procedures for them to be considered legal interpreters. Bilingual officers are a good fit because they are well-versed in the legal field; they only need professional interpretation coaching; hence will not take much time and funds undergoing legal training. Professional coaching could be done by the interpreters already at hand. In attaining quality interpretation, I believe developing a rank system for assessing bilingual officer's language skills will point me towards those police officers with high fluency levels.
Apart from using bilingual officers, I intend to equip interpreters with police cars and dispatch radios, making their response to police officers, quick. I will use telephonic services of interpretation and form partnerships with other law enforcement agencies to share resources such as legal interpreters. I believe putting to use volunteers from the community will help me and my department to meet the federal requirements for legal interpreters.
An interpretation has different styles, as explained by Erickson (2006), who is of the view that there are three standard methods of interpretation professionally, namely simultaneous interpreting, consecutive and slight translation. Simultaneous interpreting is one of the modes and is signified by translating a spoken language at the same time with English. As the LEP person speaks, so does the interpreter. Proper execution of this type of interpretation would mean that accuracy has been achieved and that parties can fully understand each other faster. This kind of interpretation is used when people involved have a passive role in court. Most often, defendants are the most eligible participants for this kind of interpretation. Simultaneous interpreting is useful where the LEP person is meant to listen and not speak.
Consecutive interpreting demands an interpreter to wait for a speaker to complete their speech before rendering it into another language. This type of interpretation is useful where the LEP person has an active role and is required to speak, for instance, during cross-examinations. The third mode of interpreting is the slight translation, and it indicates the interpretation of written documents for the LEP person to understand what a document entails. It is useful where an LEP defendant is handed forms like probation orders or when identity documents of the LEP person are presented in court. As sheriff, consecutive interpreting is most likely to be used in my department since interrogations are common in the case of an investigation. The police officers here are bound to interact with the community more often as they patrol the neighborhoods. It is my duty as sheriff to keep the people of this county safe, and hence it is essential to know the people and understand their needs.
In legal matters, interpreters should always deliver quality in the sense of accuracy. General interpretation training tends to be vague and may not adequately prepare students on the career path of their choice. I believe interpretation training should be conducted per one's career choice for only then will one be able to deliver quality work. Al-Qinai (2010) is of the view that the Task-Based Translation Teaching depicts how interpretation is made outside classrooms. It is a simulation model of the real world. As a sheriff in need of interpreters to support my work, my interpreters in training must learn in the context of their jobs here at the county and experience an interpreter's day at their job. Training needs to be conducted in a manner that enhances quality in work done, and that is why I prefer on the job training for interpreters.
My county is highly populated with Vietnamese, and interpreters are a significant part of the sheriff's office for legal matters purposes. My predecessor was under investigation by the Justice Department for the provision of inadequate law enforcement services as the language barrier was an issue. Therefore as the new sheriff, I am tasked with ensuring that the language barrier does not become a hindrance in providing law enforcement services. I believe that my predecessor could have faced a high turnover of interpreters during their term for the language barrier to become an issue. Hence as the new sheriff, I need to account for those turnovers, understand the reasons why interpreters left and avoid such happenings in the future. Mayfield (2016) describes that most interpreters could choose to leave their jobs where investigators delegate their duties to them in interviewing LEP witnesses and taking statements. Such practices could cause interpreters to feel uncomfortable and challenging enough to quit. As sheriff, I have the responsibility of letting my officers understand that interpreters are there to assist and not do their jobs for them.
In conclusion, a rural county such as mine that is highly populated with Vietnamese requires that the police be at the forefront at ensuring that law enforcement duties are upheld despite the language barrier. Local volunteers and bilingual officers can be professionally trained on the job in a bid to breach the language gap between the Vietnamese population and the state when it comes to law enforcement. Through my sheriff's duties, it is evident that the police force plays a critical role in legal interpretation. As sheriff, my officers and I are heavily tasked with ensuring that justice, fairness, and equity are upheld for our people in receiving law enforcement services. It is also my responsibility to work along with the budget given and come up with alternatives such as sharing resources with other agencies in an attempt to fulfill my duties. Society views the police as a representation of law enforcement. Therefore every officer must ensure that the perception people have in them is acted upon diligently. Everyone has a right to justice, and a language barrier should not be a constraint. As police officers, we should put all available resources in to use to make the community feel that they are part of this great nation despite their background, language, or ethnicity.
Koning, P. (2009, August). Using Languages in Legal Interpreting. The Language Educator. https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/tle/career-focus/TLE_03Legal.pdf
Erickson, A. (2006). Modes of Interpreting: Simultaneous, Consecutive, & Sight Translation (pp. 1-3). Seattle, Washington: National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (NAJIT). https://public.courts.alaska.gov/web/language/docs/modes-interpreting.pdf
Al-Qinai, J. (2010). Training Tools for Translators and Interpreters. Journal of Pan-Pacific Association of Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 121-139. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ920531.pdf
Mayfield, K. (2016). The issues and challenges surrounding interpreter-assisted investigative interviews of victims and witnesses (Master's Thesis), London Metropolitan University. http://library.college.police.uk/docs/theses/Mayfield-2016.pdf
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