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Judge Decries Interpreter Shortage

Posted Aug 10, 2007 10:35 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New York state judge is trying to shine a light on what he calls a “disturbing lack” of courtroom sign-language interpreters for the deaf.

Judge Charles Markey of Queens said employment opportunities are exploding for sign language interpreters, and courts paying $250 a day are not matching rates in the private sector, the New York Times reports. The result is a courtroom interpreter shortage. He quoted a Nebraska study that found that state’s courts were unable to fill 65 percent of assignments for such interpreters.

Markey wrote about the problem in a 13-page memorandum justifying his decision to pay a sign language interpreter twice the daily rate because there was no one available to relieve him during a recent trial.


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