Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Needed: More Courtroom Interpreters

Interpreters in federal courtrooms are in short supply:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Federal court interpreter Teresa Thorpe spoke Spanish softly into a microphone as one Hispanic defendant after another stepped forward.

The scene was typical of U.S. courts that are struggling to break down the language barrier between an English-speaking legal system and the growing number of Spanish-speaking immigrants. What was unusual was Thorpe's commute to work: She had to be flown to Birmingham from Kentucky because of a shortage of qualified interpreters in the Southeast.

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