Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Language Problems in Immigration Court

Guatemala's language groups

There is a shortage of translators for migrants in U.S. immigration court who speak ancient Mayan languages, particularly K’iché (Quiché) and Mam, the LA Times reports.

Mam and Quiché are now two of the top 11 languages spoken in immigration court. Mam is ranked 9th and Quiché is ranked 11th.

The shortage of qualified translators in these languages has led some migrants to attempt to work with Spanish translators, even if their grasp of Spanish is minimal. Other times, courts employ chain translation where one interpreter translates from Mam to Spanish and another translates from Spanish to English.

The problem, naturally, is that accurate translation can be critical in establishing claims for relief.

It's interesting to see this as an August 2016 story when I saw these exact same problems playing out in Artesia back in December 2014.


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