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LA Courts Need Interpreters Of Rare Languages
Los Angeles has always prided itself on being a very diverse city. More than one-third of the city’s population was born in another country, and more than half of those residents speak a language other than English in their homes. But as immigrants continue to flow into the city of Angels, the Los Angeles County court system is continuously in need of more and more translators of increasingly rare languages.
In a recent case, Candido Ortiz was accused of attempted murder. Ortiz only spoke a variant of Mixe, a language used by only 7,000 people in the mountains of the Mexican stat of Oaxaca. California law requires that all defendants have a right to an interpreter if necessary during criminal proceedings. For Ortiz’s case, the only translator to be found was 1,500 miles away; a university student in Texcoco, Mexico. The proceedings were translated from Mixe to Spanish, than Spanish to English so all in the courtroom could be understood.
“We’re proud of the fact that over 100 languages are represented among our interpreters,” said Greg Drapac, who used to head the court’s interpreter assignment operation. “Which is great, until you realize there are over 6,000 living languages.” The demand has been growing in Los Angeles for translators who speak indigenous languages of Latin America, as more and more migrant laborers from that region come into the LA area.