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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2016 Archives > Qualified Court Interpreters In The City of Buffalo

Qualified Court Interpreters In The City of Buffalo

April 7, 2016 - New York State Unified Court System, Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division join Mayor Byron W. Brown to recruit and prepare multi-lingual city residents for qualified court interpreter positions to ensure equal access to justice for the City’s diverse communities

Buffalo – In an effort to recruit and prepare multi-lingual city residents for qualified court interpreter positions, Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced a new partnership between the City of Buffalo, New York State Unified Court System and Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division to address a growing need in Buffalo and in cities across the country for qualified court interpreters.  New York’s Office of Court Administration will hold a court interpreter exam in Buffalo in June of this year. In a targeted effort to improve the exam’s passage rate, Mayor Brown provided financial support for an exam preparation course, the first of its kind in the state. 

“It’s vitally important that we recognize, recruit and prepare city residents for new opportunities that benefit the individual and the community,” said Mayor Brown, noting that the City of Buffalo Office of New Americans, Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division and local resettlement agencies carefully recruited quality individuals to register for the June exam, as well as the exam preparation course, which is now underway.  “The need for qualified court interpreters in Buffalo and in cities across the country is an important issue and we look forward to increasing their availability in our local court system by offering an exam preparation course.  This collaboration is another example of how we are preparing our residents to succeed in employment opportunities that benefit both our Courts and our communities.  By working together, we can work to improve access to the judicial process for our State’s immigrant populations.”

Hon. Paula Feroleto, Administrative Judge for the Eighth Judicial District, stated, “As Western New York’s immigrant population grows, the Courts are experiencing an ever-increasing number of litigants who do not speak English as their primary language.  Any litigant, witness or party to a court proceeding in New York State has the right to be heard on their day in court.  It is critical that the Courts provide a fair and impartial forum for all English-speaking and non-English speaking persons to assure equal access to justice for all.”

Hon. Susan Eagan, Buffalo City Court Judge and a member of the Office of Court Administration’s statewide Court Interpreter Committee, stated “I have witnessed first-hand how imperative it is for non-English speaking litigants to have access to qualified court interpreters in order to protect the health safety and welfare of our communities and preserve the rule of law.  Our outreach efforts, together with the Buffalo Public School System and the City of Buffalo, should significantly expand the pool of qualified court interpreters to meet the increasing demand for many languages that are new to our Buffalo neighborhoods.”

Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin, founder of the Western New York Muslim and Immigrant Family Court Collaborative, and member of the NYS Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court stated,   “The hard work of the Collaborative, the Court system, Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Public Schools Adult Education Division together made this unique and groundbreaking program possible. Working with families and children in crisis from every corner of our community and every corner of the globe, I am thrilled that all who walk into our courtrooms will be able to understand and participate in their cases. When one person's due process rights are limited, it hurts everyone in the system. This pilot program is a testament to the city of good neighbors.”

The BPS Adult Education Division had over 40 city students interested in the court interpreter preparation course. Entrance was based on an English language proficiency assessment and the course runs for 10 weeks from April 4 to June 9, 2016.  The curriculum includes understanding the court system, test-taking skills, reading comprehension, judicial terminology, and ethics training.  The exam is scheduled for June 11, 2016.