OLYMPIA, Wash. – The chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court wants state lawmakers to fund video translation for people in court who don’t speak English. Chief Justice Barbara Madsen told a joint session of the state legislature Wednesday that a remote interpreter service would be less expensive than having a translator present.
She says courts currently have certified interpreters for only 35 languages.
“As Washington’s diversity continues to grow, the need for interpreters is exploding,” Madsen says. “With limited resources, we must find a way to provide interpreter services in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”
Many medical providers in Washington already use translators piped in by phone or video. Washington lawmakers are looking to cut costs in part because the state Supreme Court ruled they were failing to fund schools adequately.