Some recent events in the USA illustrate a major challenge to the U.S. judicial system — finding people qualified to translate unfamiliar languages that are showing up more frequently in courts. It is a problem that can delay cases for long periods and, in some instances, affect the outcome.
In Arizona, a judge threatened to drop human smuggling charges against three men earlier this year because of problems locating Mayan dialect interpreters.
Authorities in Arkansas have struggled with two cases against natives of the Marshall Islands accused of killing children.
And prosecutors in Louisville, Kentucky, had difficulty earlier this year before finding a Bantu interpreter for a Somali man charged with killing his four children.
Interpreter organizations say it is difficult to estimate the number of cases affected by courts’ inability to secure translators of obscure languages. That is because most of the cases are mundane and attract little attention. But as immigrant communities grow, it is not uncommon for cases to be affected by shortages of qualified interpreters, they said.
Read more: Interpreters USA