Hawaii's judiciary system is finding itself in a unique and difficult situation these days. There's a shortage of court interpreters statewide.
There's an immediate need for bilingual residents to work in the courts and the search is on for help.
Meaningful participation in your own trial is a civil right. That goes for even non-English speaking defendants.
But with Hawaii's diverse ethnic population, a lack of qualified interpreters in the court system is a case proving hard to solve.
It’s a huge problem,” said Debi Tulang deSilva, Hawaii state judiciary’s court interpreter program director.
Right now there are 300 court interpreters employed with Hawaii's judiciary system covering 40 different languages, but there's a high demand for Chuukese, Ilokano, and Korean speaking interpreters.
Court interpreting requires a highly specialized skill in three different modes of interpreting -- consecutive, which is a question and answer format; simultaneous, which is talking at the same time the other language is being spoken; and written.
"The have to be able to interpret from a written document," said deSilva.
On top of having strong language and written skills, court interpreters are held to a higher standard.
"They have to have strong moral and strong ethical character," said deSilva.