State's high court seeks more language interpreters

Feb 5, 2014

Justice Bridget McCormack

The American legal system is littered with ancient Latin terms. Phrases like “habeus corpus,” “ex post facto” and “pro bono” are common in our courts. Many of us who are not lawyers and judges have some idea what they mean, but imagine trying to grasp what’s happening in a courtroom when English is not your first language. At best, the experience can be stressful and even frightening without an interpreter.

The Michigan Supreme Court is looking for people to fulfill that role. A new rule now requires all courts in the state of Michigan to provide interpreters to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) parties. 

Justice Bridget McCormack chairs the committee tasked with certifying court interpreters. She says the issue has been simmering for years.