Court and Medical Interpreters: Read this! The funding for the services you provide could be at risk.
As a language services provider, it’s important that you be aware of what laws support the financial coverage for the services you provide. Where the funds come from and how they are justified, because they are under fire as you read this… There are entire courses dedicated to teaching in depth about the 2 main pillars, but our goal in this blog entry is to provide you information on 3 facts: (1) the basics, (2) links to sites where you can dive in to be fully informed, and (3) an update on efforts to change the status quo, which could affect us all as interpreters and translators.
1) THE BASICS: Title VI of the US Constitution and Executive Order 13166. An excerpt from https://www.lep.gov/video/video.html
“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. National origin discrimination includes, among other things, failing to provide meaningful access to individuals who are limited English proficient (LEP). Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies that provide federal financial assistance to develop guidance to clarify the language access obligations of recipients of such assistance.” So, we see the importance.
2) Here are direct links to useful sites explaining both Title VI and EO 13166:
Title VI of the U.S. Constitution: https://www.dol.gov/oasam/regs/statutes/titlevi.htm
Executive Order (E.O.) 13166: https://www.justice.gov/crt/executive-order-13166
3) And here’s what’s in the news recently about efforts to designate English as the one official language of the United States of America: https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/white-house-meets-with-group-urging-english-as-official-us-language/
A paragraph in the article above that should REALLY catch your eye states (and let’s ignore the use of the word “translation”…): “Guschov told the Review-Journal his group is ‘particularly urging’ aides to advise Trump to repeal an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 that directed federal agencies to offer translation services for residents with limited English proficiency.” Can we possibly guess what a repeal of this EO would mean for court interpreters? Also for healthcare interpreters, of course (Medicaid and Medicare are both recipients of federal funding).
An by the way, did you know English is not the official language for the country, but 31 states have in various ways designated it so for themselves? Do you know what YOUR state’s stance on the matter is? Here, check it out (as of 2014): https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/12/states-where-english-is-the-official-language/?utm_term=.7a32b2bbf72d
We think it’s important that we all stay alert regarding what’s going on with this topic, and make our voices heard when we see the opportunity to do so! Our professional lives depend on it! We invite you to comment and share your thoughts and related articles. Thanks!