HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Judiciary announced a new policy on Friday regarding Hawaiian language interpreters during courtroom proceedings.

The Judiciary says it will provide or permit qualified Hawaiian language interpreters to the extent reasonably possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language.

The Judiciary says it will develop implementation procedures for this policy, and welcomes input from the community.  Comments may be sent to pao@courts.hawaii.gov

Individuals who are interested in serving as a court interpreter should contact the Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at (808) 539-4860 for further information. Basic orientation workshops for court interpreters of all languages are scheduled across the State on the following dates and locations:

  • Oahu: Feb. 24-25 or March 24-25 at the Supreme Court Building in downtown Honolulu
  • Kauai: Feb. 13-14 at the Kauai Courthouse in Lihue
  • Maui: Feb. 28-March 1 at the Maui Driver Education Office in the Main Street Promenade Building
  • Hawaii Island (Kona):  March 6-7 at the Kona Driver Education Office in the Kealakekua Business Plaza
  • Hawaii Island (Hilo):  March 15-16 at the Hilo Courthouse

The deadline to register is Jan. 31, 2018.

The controversy over using the Hawaiian language to address a judge came about on Maui on Wednesday. Judge Blaine Kobayashi issued an arrest warrant after Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo decided to address the judge in Hawaiian rather than English.  On Thursday, Judge Kobayashi recalled the bench warrant.