Courts can’t always guarantee individuals who speak little or no English an interpreter, said Ginny Dropkin, a contract interpreter for the Durham courts.
Dropkin, who has worked as a Spanish interpreter in the Durham court system for the past nine years, said interpreters often have a hard time juggling multiple court sessions.
Interpreters are sometimes needed in multiple courtrooms at the same time but only one interpreter is available, she said in an email.
“The court officials in other courtrooms sometimes become frustrated when they have to wait a long time for an interpreter, because it disrupts the efficiency of the courtroom,” she said.
“But there is nothing that the interpreter can do to be in more than one place at a time.”
The challenges Dropkin referred to are examples of recent findings by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The department released a report earlier this month outlining its findings from an investigation into the N.C. court system.
According to the report, the Justice Department found that courts in the state restricted the types of cases in which interpreters are provided and did not properly notify people of their right to an interpreter.
The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts has until March 29 to respond to the U.S. Justice Department’s findings.