A Court of Many Languages Kane Officials Considering Full-Time Interpretor Positions
Kimberly, James, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: James Kimberly Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
Faced with as high a Hispanic population as any place in the Chicago area and skyrocketing costs for translating court proceedings, Kane County officials are considering getting into the interpreting business.
Spending roughly $180,000 a year on freelance translators for Spanish, Laotian, Polish, sign language and a host of other languages, Kane County Court Administrator Doug Naughton said it might be cheaper to end the freelance contracts and just hire four or five full-time employees.
If Kane were to take that step and create its own interpreting department to serve its courtrooms, it would be the first collar county to do so.
DuPage County Court Administrator Bob Fiscella said the idea of hiring full-time administrators has been discussed in Wheaton but never acted upon.
"It's something that I think all the larger counties have wrestled with periodically," Fiscella said. "It's something that we've looked at in the past and every year we continue to look at it."
Although DuPage County has twice the number of people as Kane, it has fewer residents who do not speak English. DuPage County spent just $106,000 on translators for its courtrooms last year, little more than half the amount of Kane County.
Just less than half of DuPage County's money pays for Spanish interpreters. The remainder goes primarily to sign language translators, which the county must provide not only in criminal courts but in civil as well, and about 15 other languages, Fiscella said. …