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Video: Interpreting In A Pandemic

Video: Interpreting In A Pandemic

For years, the Court has employed translators to help people in our courtrooms understand what is being said when English is not their native language. The interpreter would stand or sit beside the person, often a defendant, and repeat the proceedings in their native language.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still underway, interpreters can no longer be right beside the person they are working with.

Even though most hearings are now on-line, some in-person hearings are still required. A recent case in front of Judge Timothy McCormick required a Spanish translator, so the Court’s information systems team went to work.

Using wireless headsets, Court Spanish Translator Robert Forstag was able to work with the defendant. After being sworn-in by Judge McCormick, Robert stood beside the door to the jury box and translated the proceedings. By using a microphone placed close to his mouth, Robert could quietly repeat the Judge’s instructions and other comments made during the hearing.

By utilizing the headsets, two-way conversations between the interpreter and client can be clearer and less distracting for the client and others in the courtroom.