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New Bench Cards Address Sign and Foreign Language Interpreting Via Remote Technology

Image of a woman wearing a headset microphone sitting in front of a computer (iStock/fizkes)

New bench cards will help Ohio court interpreters work remotely during the pandemic.

Image of a woman wearing a headset microphone sitting in front of a computer (iStock/fizkes)

New bench cards will help Ohio court interpreters work remotely during the pandemic.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s Language Services Program has unveiled new bench cards to help courts working with sign, foreign language, video, and telephonic interpreters during the pandemic. The bench cards give guidance on the use of interpreters in remote hearings or functions.

The bench cards were updated because court rules changed and the language services landscape continues to evolve, including the use of remote interpreters. Also, since the program expanded credentialing, the number of interpreter categories has increased to include non-certified languages.

“Courts need to keep up with changes to operate in the most efficient and knowledgeable way when it comes to language access and equal protection,” said Bruno Romero, manager of the Court’s Language Services Program. “These tools assist with being up to date on changes and technology surrounding interpreters.”

The appointment of court interpreters is directed by Rules 88 and 89 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.

The rules cover the appointment of foreign language and American Sign Language interpreters in case or court functions and ancillary court services. These tools are meant to be referenced, along with the rules before appointing a telephonic interpreter.

The bench cards will be included in Interpreters in the Judicial System: A Handbook for Ohio Judges, which is being updated and will be released in 2021.