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November 21, 2009

County court interpreter fired over mistranslations

Seen in The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio):
"County court interpreter fired over mistranslations
Man allegedly made up terms, misdescribed proceedings in Spanish
Friday,  July 31, 2009 11:19 PM
A Spanish-language interpreter for Franklin County Municipal Court was fired last month because he couldn't interpret legal terms, possibly jeopardizing the constitutional rights of thousands. "It's the legal standard to hear and understand the charges against you so that you can defend yourself," said Bruno Romero, Interpreter Services program manager for the Supreme Court of Ohio. "It's a critical point."
[The interpreter], 42, made up words, including the Spanish word for "defendant," and guessed when he did not understand legal terms in English, according to court documents."
hard to believe, isn't it? I have over 25 years of experience, and I'm scared to miss a word said or to have to check a dictionary because I don't know the meaning of an obscure word. How can some people who call themselves interpreters jeopardize people's futures just like that! Unethical interpreters give a bad name to our profession, but some hiring practices in the legal system also leave a lot to be desired.

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