Archived Story

Letter to the Editor: Interpreters required in Michigan courts

Published 8:49pm Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thank you for your efforts to advance public knowledge about issues and concerns that affect the lives of Michigan residents. Issues related to the justice system are surely among those most important to your readers, which is why I am contacting you today.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently issued a new rule requiring foreign language interpreters in all courts. The goal is to make sure all people in Michigan have consistent, meaningful access to the justice system.

The court’s Limited English Proficiency Implementation Advisory Committee is already at work to help local judges implement the new rule. There will soon be a template available for judges to use in crafting a plan that works best for their particular jurisdiction.

The new rule also requires a ready pool of qualified interpreters, including those in your circulation area. I hope you will consider publishing the accompanying viewpoint column by Justice Bridget M. McCormack, which provides information on the need for interpreters and the process for becoming certified.

The goal is to reach potential interpreters in all corners of the state, to ensure that everyone, no matter where their case is heard, will understand — and be understood — during court proceedings.

Interpreter candidates must pass a written English exam and then a foreign language oral proficiency exam. Individuals who pass both tests receive a certification card and their names are added to the certified interpreters list, which the State Court Administrative Office provides to all judges and court administrators in Michigan.

Thank you for your help in making our court system work smarter for a better Michigan.


Robert P. Young Jr.

Chief Justice


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