Use of Interpreters in Court Rises as Budget Grows

OCTOBER 23, 2006 - Posted at 8:01 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas court officials say the use of interpreters in court has skyrocketed now that more money has been provided to pay for them.  The program was begun in 1999 by the state Supreme Court, but first-year funding totalled only $50,000.  Now, the budget is $250,000.

Spanish interpreters appeared in 1,601 circuit court cases in 2005, more than double the number in 2004.  Interpreters in other languages, like Vietnamese, Thai, Russian and Chinese, appeared in 87 district court cases last year, up from 15 the year before.

Arkansas is one of nearly three dozen states that have formed a group hoping to set national certification standards for court interpreters.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)