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2014 Latino Community Report For the 130th General Assembly

Medical and Legal Language Access in Ohio Demographics, Law and Policy


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       Latino  Community  Reports  are  issued  several  times  each  year  to  members  of  Ohio’s  General  Assembly.   Each  report  is  a  research  piece  which  covers  a  topic  of  salient  interest  to  Ohio  Hispanics.  Latino   Community  Reports  include  data,  analysis  and  discussion.  Where  possible,  each  report  includes  data   tailored  to  individual  legislative  districts  or  the  counties  comprising  individual  districts.  Recent  Latino   Community  Reports  are  available  on  the  OCHLA  website  and  have  covered:     Deferred  Action  for  Childhood  Arrivals  (2013)   Ohio  Hispanic  Voting  Trends  (2013)   Housing  Discrimination  Among  Ohio  Hispanics  (2012)   Ohio’s  Migrant  Seasonal  Farm  Workers  (2012)   Diabetes  Among  Ohio  Hispanics  (2011)   Ohio  Hispanic  Community  Demographics  (2011)     This  report  was  issued  by  the  Ohio  Commission  on  Hispanic/Latino  Affairs  on  3/24/2014,  and  was   composed  by:     Nolan  Stevens,  Public  Policy  Officer     The  best  efforts  were  made  to  gather  and  provide  accurate  and  current  information.  Data  presented   from  previous  years  indicates  the  most  up  to  date  research  available.  OCHLA  will  provide  any  additional   information  or  data  upon  request  as  it  becomes  available.     For  more  information,  please  email  Nolan  Stevens  directly  at  nolan.stevens@ochla.state.oh.us  or  contact   the  Commission  at:     Ohio  Commission  on  Hispanic/Latino  Affairs   77  South  High  Street,  18th  Floor   Columbus,  Ohio.  43215.   (614)  466—8333   http://ochla.ohio.gov    

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Table of  Contents       Execu&ve  Summary……………………………………………………………………………3       Language  Diversity  in  the  United  States…………………………………………...4       Language  Diversity  in  Ohio……………………………………………………………….7       Law  Regula*ng  Language  Access  in  Ohio  Courts.…………………………….15       Language  Access  in  Ohio  Courts……………………………………………………..18       Law  Regula*ng  Language  Access  in  Ohio  Hospitals……………………….24       Language  Access  in  Ohio  Hospitals…………………………………………………26       Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………..28       Appendix:  Expanded  Legal  Nota*ons………………………………………………31    

 

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio      

1. Executive Summary   Ohio  is  an  increasingly  diverse  state,  and  its  emerging  diversity  cuts  across  many  demographic   categories.  Ohioans  come  from  myriad  racial,  national,  ethnic,  cultural,  linguistic,  political  and  religious   backgrounds.  While  diversity  is  certainly  a  strength  both  for  Ohio  and  for  the  United  States,  it  can  create   challenges  in  policy  formulation.  Language  diversity  is  one  such  challenge.  The  State  is  currently  working   to  educate  an  increasingly  linguistically-­‐diverse  student  population,  for  example,  and  difficulty  with   English  is  an  obstacle  in  many  facets  of  every-­‐day  life  for  the  hundreds  of  thousands  of  Ohioans  who  are   Limited  English  Proficient  (LEP).  LEP  Ohioans  must  overcome  language  barriers  at  the  places  that  all   Ohioans  must  frequent  –  the  school,  the  bank,  the  grocery  store,  the  BMV  and  elsewhere.  Nowhere  are   the  stakes  in  overcoming  those  obstacles  higher  than  in  Ohio  courts  and  in  Ohio  hospitals.     The  need  for  smart  policy  that  guarantees  meaningful  access  to  services  has  never  been  greater.  The   growth  of  languages  other  than  English  spoken  in  Ohio  has  been  both  broad  and  rapid,  mirroring  the   growth  nationally.  More  and  more  Ohioans  are  speaking  more  and  more  languages,  and  with  increasing   numbers  of  LEP  Ohioans  the  State  must  be  prepared  to  render  services  to  those  quarter-­‐of-­‐a-­‐million   Ohioans  who  struggle  with  speaking  and  understanding  English.     This  Latino  Community  Report  will  examine  the  systems  of  law  and  policy  that  govern  the  provision  of   services  to  LEP  Ohioans  in  the  state’s  courts  and  in  the  state’s  hospitals  and  clinics.  Because  language   access  is  such  a  broad  challenge,  both  federal  and  state  policy  address  language  access  differently  in   separate  domains.  This  is  most  evident  in  analyzing  and  comparing  the  competing  legal  schemes   governing  language  access  in  courts  and  in  hospitals.     Federal  and  State  law  have  extensively  regulated  the  provision  of  language  access  in  both  state  and   federal  courts.  While  many  decisions  are  left  to  the  court’s  discretion,  in  most  cases  an  LEP  party  or   witness  must  be  provided  an  interpreter  certified  to  practice  in  whichever  court  in  which  he  finds   himself  –  both  federal  courts  and  state  courts  have  parallel  schemes  governing  the  certification,   appointment  and  compensation  of  interpreters.  This  scheme  boasts  strong  guarantees  of  equality,   predictability  and  accuracy,  and  strong  protections  for  constitutional  and  civil  rights.  It  also  provides  for   the  precision  that  legal  proceedings  require.  But  it’s  not  without  its  drawbacks.  This  is  an  expensive  set   of  laws  to  maintain  and  enforce,  and  even  with  the  extensive  regulation  some  Ohio  courts  do  not  yet   abide  by  the  rules  on  language  access  that  govern  them.  More,  depressed  compensation  and  rigorous   certification  protocols  for  court  interpreters  in  Ohio  have  combined  to  create  a  shortage  of  the  certified   interpreters  that  Ohio  requires  to  meet  the  demands  of  the  regulatory  scheme.     Contrast  that  environment  with  the  provision  of  language  services  in  Ohio  clinics,  hospitals  and  medical   offices.  Far  fewer  laws  –  and  none  at  the  State  level  –  govern  the  provision  of  language  access  in   healthcare  contexts.  This  deregulated  environment  gives  individual  healthcare  providers  the  flexibility  to   plan  and  implement  their  own  policies  for  language  access,  which  may  depend  on  the  demographic   parameters  of  the  populations  they  serve.  In  this  way,  costs  are  kept  lower  as  individual  institutions   formulate  policies  that  address  their  specific  language  needs  without  implicating  broader  regulation  at   the  state  level.  And  as  no  certification  is  required  for  medical  interpreters,  the  shortage  of  medical   3    


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interpreters is  not  as  severe  as  the  shortage  of  certified  court  interpreters.  This  system  also,  however,   has  its  disadvantages.  It  can  be  a  poor  protector  of  civil  liberties  for  LEP  Ohioans,  as  there  are  no   certification  requirements  for  interpreters  and  translators.  Too  often  informal  interpreters  are  used.   Further,  different  hospitals  may  have  wildly  divergent  language  services  –  even  among  those  that  serve   the  same  local  population  –  making  meaningful  access  unpredictable  from  institution  to  institution.   Examining  two  competing  regulatory  schemes  illustrates  the  strengths  and  weaknesses  of  each  while   demographic  data  provides  context  for  the  debate.    This  report  includes  analysis,  discussion  and   suggested  conclusions,  but  it  will  be  for  Ohio’s  elected  leaders  to  balance  these  competing  interests  and   craft  a  policy  that  guarantees  meaningful  access  to  medical  care  and  justice  for  all  Ohioans,  regardless  of   the  language  they  speak.   The  Ohio  Commission  on  Hispanic/Latino  affairs  is  required  to  assist  the  General  Assembly  in  this   endeavor  by  providing  legislators  with  advice1  on  crafting  and  implementing  policies  that  address  the   unique  challenges  faced  by  Ohio  Hispanics.  Accordingly,  the  Commission  will  gather  input  from  our   community  and  other  linguistically  diverse  Ohio  communities,  examine  service  delivery  models  in  other   jurisdictions,  and  communicate  with  stakeholders  before  creating  a  set  of  policy  recommendations  that   address  the  gaps  in  language  access  in  Ohio  courts  and  hospitals.  This  Latino  Community  Report  is   intended  to  introduce  the  issue  to  legislators  and  to  provide  legal  and  demographic  contexts  for  better   understanding  the  issue  and  its  implications.  OCHLA  will  supplement  this  report  by  delivering  these   policy  recommendations  to  the  General  Assembly  in  the  coming  weeks.        

2. Language Diversity  in  the  United  States     The  United  States  has,  by  a  huge  margin,  the  largest  population  of  foreign-­‐born  residents  of  any  country   on  Earth.  In  2013,  the  United  States  was  home  to  more  than  45  foreign-­‐born  residents  –  19.3%  of  all   immigrants  worldwide.2    Foreign-­‐born  residents  made  up  12.3%  of  the  population  of  the  United  States   in  the  2010  Census.3  With  such  a  magnitude  of  national  origins,  accompanying  linguistic  diversity  is  no   surprise.  However,  not  all  immigrants  speak  a  language  other  than  English  at  home,  and  not  all  speakers   of  other  languages  in  the  United  States  are  immigrants.  In  2013  the  U.S.  Census  Bureau  estimated  that   60,577,020  Americans  –  21%  of  that  population  -­‐  spoke  a  language  other  than  English  at  home  in  2011,   the  most  recent  estimates.4   A  note  on  terminology  and  the  data  in  this  section.  Each  year,  the  American  Community  Survey  asks   respondents  aged  five  or  older  about  the  languages  they  speak  at  home,  and  the  data  included  below  is   focused  on  survey  respondents  that  indicated  that  they  or  another  person  in  their  home  aged  five  or                                                                                                                           1 2

Ohio  Revised  Code  §121.32(F).  

Trends  in  International  Migrant  Stock:  The  2013  Revision,  United  Nations,  2013.   3  2010  American  Community  Survey,  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  2010.   4  Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011,  American  Community  Survey  Reports,  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  August  2013,  p.3  

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       older  spoke  a  language  other  than  English  at  home.  Throughout  this  section  I  will  use  “speakers  of  other   languages”  and  “non-­‐English  speakers”  interchangeably  to  describe  this  demographic.     The  survey  goes  on  to  ask  respondents  to  identify  the  language  they  spoke  in  lieu  of  English.  The  Census   Bureau  estimates  that  more  than  300  languages  are  spoken  in  the  United  States5  but  one  deserves   special  mention.  37,579,787  Americans  –  62%  of  the  population  aged  five  or  older  that  speaks  a   language  other  than  English  at  home,  speak  Spanish  at  home.6  This  means  that  12.9%  of  the  total  U.S.   population  aged  five  and  above  speak  Spanish  at  home.7  In  contrast,  the  next  most  widely  –spoken   language  at  home  is  Chinese,  with  2,882,497  speakers,  or  4.8%  of  the  population  of  speakers  of  other   languages  and  less  than  1%  of  the  population  at  large.8  Only  speakers  of  Spanish,  Chinese,  Vietnamese   and  French  comprised  more  that  2%  of  speakers  of  other  languages,  so  while  Spanish  is  dominant,  the   overall  linguistic  landscape  is  tremendously  diverse.    

Languages Spoken  by  Non-­‐English  Speakers   28.70%  

Spanish 62.00%  

Chinese Vietnamese     French   Other  

2.10% 4.90%   2.30%  

Source: Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011.  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  August  2013  

The U.S.  Census  Bureau  began  asking  these  three  questions  as  part  of  the  decennial  census  in  1980.   They  continued  to  do  so  in  1990  and  2000,  but  later  moved  these  questions  to  the  American  Community   Survey.9  Through  that  data,  however,  it’s  possible  to  trace  the  growth  and  change  of  the  population  of   speakers  of  other  languages  in  the  United  States.  Since  1980,  the  number  of  strictly  English-­‐speaking   households  has  increased  by  22.7%,  while  the  number  of  households  where  a  language  other  than  

                                                                                                                      5

Id.  at  4.    Id.  at  3.   7  See  Id.  at  3.   8  Id.   9  Id.  at  2.   6

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English is  spoken  at  home  increased  by  158.2%,10  a  rate  nearly  seven  times  the  growth  rate  of  English-­‐ speaking  households.     The  languages  spoken  in  these  non-­‐English  households  have  likewise  changed  as  earlier  immigrant   waves  assimilated  and  began  speaking  English  exclusively.  Since  1980,  only  five  languages  have  declined   in  use  –  Italian,  German,  Polish,  Yiddish  and  Greek  –  by  55%,  33%,  26%,  51%  and  24%,  respectively.11   These  languages  represent  those  spoken  by  waves  of  immigrants  that  came  to  the  United  States  in  the   earlier  parts  of  the  20th  century.  Meanwhile,  use  of  languages  from  Eastern  Europe,  Asia  and  Latin   America  has  expanded  dramatically  along  with  the  populations  of  those  ethnic  groups.  The  national   population  of  Vietnamese  speakers  has  increased  by  599%  since  1980  and  speakers  of  Spanish,  Russian,   Chinese  and  Korean  have  increased  by  233%  (Spanish)  to  394%  (Russian).12  So  not  only  is  the  use  of   English  declining  relatively  in  the  United  States,  but  the  use  of  other  Western  European  languages  are   actually  declining.     Finally,  the  annual  American  Community  Survey  asks  respondents  that  spoke  languages  other  than   English  at  home  to  assess  their  fluency  in  English.  Encouragingly,  58.2%  of  respondents  said  than  non-­‐ English  speakers  in  their  homes  aged  five  or  above  also  spoke  English  “very  well”.13  However,  another   19.4%  said  they  only  spoke  English  “well”,  15.4%  said  they  spoke  English  “not  well”,  and  another  7%  said   they  spoke  English  “not  at  all”.14  The  lowest  rates  for  English  proficiency  were  among  speakers  of  East-­‐ and-­‐Southeast-­‐Asian  Languages.15  Among  Spanish-­‐speakers,  slightly  fewer  respondents  said  they  spoke   Spanish  “very  well”  or  “well”,  and  slightly  more  indicated  that  they  spoke  English  “not  well”  or  “not  at   all”.16  English  competency  unsurprisingly  correlates  to  ethnicity  and  other  factors.  There  is  a  27-­‐ percentae  point  gap  in  English  fluency  between  non-­‐Hispanic  whites  and  Hispanics,  for  example.17   Additionally,  for  all  speakers  of  other  languages  at  home,  English  proficiency  correlated  statistically  with   socioeconomic  indicators  like  education  level,  labor  participation  and  poverty  status.18    

                                                                                                                      10

Id.      Id.     12  Id.     13  Id.     14  Id.   15  Id.     16  Id.     17  Id.  at  8.   18  Id.  at  9.     11

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio      

English Proficiency  Among  Non-­‐English   Speakers  NaEonwide  

7% 15.40%   Speak  English  "Very  Well"   19.40%  

58.20%

Speak English  "Well"   Speak  English  "Not  Well"   Speak  English  "Not  at  All"  

Source: Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011.  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  August  2013  

Extrapolating this  data,  41.8%  of  Americans  aged  five  or  older  that  speak  a  language  other  than  English   at  home  speak  English  somewhat  less  than  “very  well”.  That’s  more  than  25  million  people  in  the  United   States  and  more  than  8%  of  the  country’s  316  million-­‐plus  population.19  “Limited  English  Proficient”   individuals,  or  “LEP”,  is  defined  as  an  individual  whose  native  language  is  not  English,  and  who  has  a   limited  ability  to  speak,  read,  write  or  understand  English.20  This  report  will  refer  to  this  demographic  -­‐   those  aged  five  or  older  whose  native  language  is  not  English  and  who  indicated  that  they  speak   English  worse  than  “very  well”  -­‐  as  “Limited  English  Proficient”,  or  simply  “LEP”.  With  such  a  large   population  of  LEP  residents,  guaranteeing  language  access  to  government  services  is  a  significant   challenge.     In  sum,  more  than  60  million  Americans  aged  five  or  older,  or  about  21%  of  the  country’s  population,   speaks  a  language  other  than  English  at  home.  There  are  some  300  other  languages  spoken  with  some   regularity  nationwide,  but  speakers  of  just  one  of  those  languages  –  Spanish  –  account  for  62%  of  all   speakers  of  languages  other  than  English  in  the  United  States  and  almost  13%  of  the  country’s   population.  Languages  other  than  English  are  spoken  in  more  and  more  households  in  the  United  States,   and  their  growth  rate  since  1980  eclipses  the  national  growth  rate  of  strictly  English-­‐speaking   households  sevenfold.  While  the  use  of  Asian,  Latin  American,  African  and  Eastern  European  languages   in  U.S.  households  has  in  many  cases  doubled,  tripled  and  even  sextupled  since  1980,  growth  in  English   remains  low  and  the  use  of  other  Western  European  languages  has  even  decreased.  More  than  58%  of   these  60  million  speakers  of  other  languages  nonetheless  speak  English  “very  well”,  while  the  remaining   42%  -­‐  about  25  million  Americans  –  are  Limited  English  Proficient.                                                                                                                           19

State  and  County  Quick  Facts,  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  2013.    Who  is  a  Limited  English  Proficient  Individual?,  Frequently  Asked  Questions,  www.lep.gov  

20

7  


2014  

 

3. Language Diversity  in  Ohio     Ohio  is  less  linguistically  diverse  than  the  country  at  large.  Of  Ohio’s  10+  million  residents,  only  6.7%  -­‐   721,796  -­‐  spoke  a  language  other  than  English  at  home21  compared  to  nearly  21%  nationally.  Among  the   50  states  and  the  District  of  Columbia,  Ohio  ranks  just  39th  in  the  percentage  of  residents  aged  five  or   older  speaking  a  language  other  than  English  at  home.  Ohio  is  a  big  state,  however,  and  the  state’s   721,796  speakers  of  other  languages  is  the  19th  highest  population  among  the  50  states  and  the   District  of  Colombia.     Ohio’s  non-­‐English  speaking  population  is,  then,  somewhat  unique.  The  population  is  large  but  the   percentage  of  the  State’s  residents  that  it  encompasses  is  relatively  small.  Ohio’s  total  number  of   resident  speakers  of  other  language  is  most  similar  to  the  populations  of  Connecticut  and  New  Mexico.22   Both  states,  however,  have  much  higher  percentages  of  such  residents  that  Ohio  does  –  26.4%  and   36.5%  respectively23  –  compared  to  Ohio’s  6.7%.  Meanwhile,  Ohio’s  closest  peers  by  percentage  of  non-­‐ English  speaking  population  are  Maine,  South  Carolina  and  South  Dakota  –  all  at  6.6%  -­‐  but  each  of  these   states  has  a  dramatically  lower  total  population  of  non-­‐English  speakers:  83,579  live  in  Maine,  289,004   live  in  South  Carolina  and  just  50,355  are  residents  of  South  Dakota.  Ohio  has  roughly  300,000  more   speakers  of  other  languages  than  the  combined  total  of  those  three  states.      

Comparison of  PopulaEon  of   Speakers  of  Other  Languages  in  Ohio   and  NaEonally,  by  Percentage   Speakers  of  Other  Languages  by   Percentage  

20.78% 6.70%  

Najonally 79.22%   93.30%  

English Speakers  by  Percentage  

Ohio

Source: Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011.  U.S.  Census  Bureau,  August  2013    

                                                                                                                      21

Language  Use  in  the  United  States:2011,  supra,  at  11.    Id.   23  Id.   22

8  


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       Ohioans  do  speak  a  very  wide  array  of  languages,  which  is  reflective  of  national  linguistic  diversity.  In   2010,  there  were  30  languages  spoken  in  Ohio  homes  by  at  least  4,000  Ohioans.24  Spanish  is  also  less   dominant  a  second-­‐language  than  it  is  nationally.  In  Ohio,  Spanish-­‐speakers  account  for  only  34%  of   speakers  of  other  languages,  while  the  percentages  of  speakers  of  several  other  languages  –  most   notably  Arabic  and  German  –  are  much  higher25  than  national  rates.26    

Language Diversity  in  Ohio  Among  Non-­‐ English  Speakers   2.38%  

2.06% 1.90%   1.58%  

Spanish  

2.85%

German   Arabic    

3.96% 4.12%  

34.39%

French   Italian    

8.40%

Russian   Hindi     Greek     Polish    

Source: American  Community  Survey,  5-­‐Year  Estimates,  Public  Use  Microdata  Sample,  2006–2010.  

Ohio’s  speakers  of  other  languages  are  also  more  proficient  with  English  than  their  peers  nationally.   64.9%  of  Ohioans  that  speak  other  languages  at  home  say  they  also  speak  English  “very  well”,  and   another  20.8%  speak  English  “well”.27  Contrast  those  figures  with  the  national  figures  above  and  notice   that  Ohio  speakers  of  other  languages  outpace  national  rates  in  English  competency  by  6.7  percentage   points.  Likewise,  11.4%  of  Ohio  respondents  said  that  they  spoke  English  “not  well”  and  just  2.9%  said   they  didn’t  speak  English  at  all.28                                                                                                                                   24

American  Community  Survey,  5-­‐Year  Estimates,  Public  Use  Microdata  Sample,  2006–2010.    Id.   26  Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011,  supra,  at  page  3.   27  Id.  at  11.   28  Id.   25

9  


2014  

English Proficiency     National  Speakers  of  Other  Languages  (Total)   Speak  English  “very  well”     Speak  English  “well”,  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Ohio  Speakers  of  Other  Languages  (Total)   Speak  English  “very  well”    

Population   60,577,020   35,255,825   25,321,195  

Percentage   100.00%   58.2%   41.8%  

721,797 468,446  

100.00% 64.9%  

Speak English  “well”,  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

253,351

35.1%

Sources: American  Community  Survey  5-­‐Year  Estimates,  Language  Use  in  the  United  States:  2011  

English proficiency  in  Ohio  households  appears  to  vary  according  to  the  other  language  spoken.   Generally,  Ohioans  that  speak  Western  European  and  South  Asian  languages  are  most  often  fluent  in   English.29  Ohio  Speakers  of  languages  indigenous  to  Africa,  Latin  America,  Eastern  Europe  and  East  Asia,   by  contrast,  have  the  lowest  rates  of  English  proficiency.30   While  Ohio’s  population  is  growing  much  more  slowly  than  that  of  other  states  and  the  country  as  a   whole,  the  state  is  experiencing  growth  among  speakers  of  languages  other  than  English.  Overall  in   Ohio,  the  growth  of  all  languages  other  than  English  between  the  2000  and  2010  Census  is  about  11%  -­‐   less  than  half  of  the  national  rate  of  27%.31  That’s  more  than  five  times  the  pace,  however,  at  which   Ohio’s  strictly  English-­‐speaking  population  is  growing  –  a  meager  2%.32  The  growth  of  specific  languages   in  Ohio  is  also  different  from  their  rates  of  growth  nationally.  While  the  State  lags  national  growth  rates   for  most  languages,  in  a  few  cases  Ohio’s  –  like  Chinese  -­‐  growth  is  faster  than  the  national  pace.   To  conclude,  Ohio  is  less  diverse  linguistically  than  the  nation  at  large.  Only  6.7%  of  Ohioans  aged  five   or  older  speak  a  language  other  than  English  at  home  –  about  a  third  of  the  national  percentage.  Still,   that  population  is  significant  –  at  more  than  721,000  –  and  it  is  diverse.  More  than  30  languages  are   spoken  by  at  least  4,000  Ohioans,  and  the  State’s  population  of  Spanish-­‐speakers  is  much  less   hegemonic  relative  to  other  languages  than  the  national  rate.  Instead,  Ohio  is  home  to  higher-­‐than-­‐ average  percentages  of  people  that  speak  other  languages  besides  Spanish  –  most  notably  German   and  Arabic.                                                                                                                                     29

American  Community  Survey,  supra.    Id.   31  Language  Use  in  the  United  States:2011,  supra,  at  7.   32  See  2000  U.S.  Census,  2010  American  Community  Survey.   30

10  


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       English  Proficiency  Among  Ohioans  Speaking  Other  Languages   27,593   Arabic   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   24,845   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   2748           27,670   Chinese   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   22,369   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   5,301           5,661   Croatian   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   4,759   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   902           9,604   Cushite   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   7,709   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   1,895           9,611   Dutch   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   9,240   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   371           27,035   French   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   24,674   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   2,361           57,664   German   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   54,487   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   3,177           12,487   Greek   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   11,438   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   1,049           6,519   Gujarathi   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   5,971   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   548           14,371   Hindi   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   13,870   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"   501           11    

  90.04%   9.96%           80.84%   19.16%           84.07%   15.93%           80.27%   19.78%           96.21%   3.79%           91.27%   8.73%           94.49%   5.51%           91.60%   8.40%           91.59%   8.41%           96.51%   3.49%      


Hungarian

8,734

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

8,070

92.40%

664

7.60%

 

 

Italian

19,538

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

17,652

90.35%

1,886

9.65%

 

 

Japanese

8,970

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

6,846

76.32%

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

2,124

23.68%

 

 

10,264

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

8,369

81.54%

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

1,895

18.46%

 

 

Kru, Ibo,  Yoruba  

7,698

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

7,362

95.64%

336

4.36%

 

 

Panjabi

5,083

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

4,145

81.72%

938

18.28%

 

 

Pennsylvania Dutch  

22,958

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

21,653

94.32%

1,305

5.68%

 

 

11,105

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

9,717

87.50%

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

1,388

12.50%

 

 

Romanian

5,983

 

Speak English  “very  well”  or  "well"  

4,894

81.80%

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

1,089

18.20%

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"      

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"      

  Korean  

 

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"      

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"      

Speak English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Polish  

 

  12    

2014  


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       Russian   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Spanish   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Tagalog   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Telugu   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Ukrainian   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Urdu   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"       Vietnamese   Speak  English  “very  well”  or  "well"   Speak  English  "not  well"  or  "not  at  all"  

15,672 11,898   3,774       233,819   181,998  

  75.92%   24.08%           77.84%  

51,821

22.16%

 

 

10,669

 

10,293 376       6,907   6,729   178  

96.48% 3.52%           97.42%   2.58%  

 

 

9,010 7,217   1,793       5,325   5,017   308       10,835   8,052   2,783  

  80.10%   19.90%           94.22%   5.78%           74.31%   25.69%  

Source: American  Community  Survey,  Five-­‐Year  Estimates.  

13  


2014  

Growth of  Selected  Languages  in  Ohio  and   NaEonally,  2000-­‐2010   Vietnamese  

37%

12%

Russian

10%

21% 39%  

Chinese Spanish  

12%

Any Non-­‐English  Language  

11%

English (only)  

2% 0%  

52%

32%

Percent Growth  Najonally   Percent  Growth  in  Ohio  

27%

10%

10% 20%   30%   40%   50%   60%  

See 2000  U.S.  Census,  2010  American  Community  Survey.  

Despite its  relative  small  size,  Ohio’s  population  of  speakers  of  other  languages  is  growing  rapidly.  The   growth  rate  of  Ohioans  speaking  languages  other  than  English  at  home  is  more  than  five  times  the   state’s  growth  rate  for  households  speaking  only  English,  but  still  less  than  half  of  the  national  rate.  The   growth  of  individual  languages  in  Ohio  also  diverges  from  those  rates  nationally.  In  most  cases  Ohio’s   growth  trails  the  growth  of  the  language  nationally  but  in  a  few  –  notably  Chinese  –  Ohio  outpaces  the   national  rate.   Ohioans  that  speak  languages  other  than  English  at  home  are  also  better  English-­‐speakers  than  the   same  populations  in  most  other  states.  64.9%  of  Ohioans  that  primarily  speak  other  languages  also   speak  English  “very  well”.  Just  35.1%  of  these  Ohioans  are  LEP  –  a  rate  far  below  the  national  average  of   41.8%  among  speakers  of  other  languages  aged  five  or  older.  Those  Ohioans  that  speak  languages  that   originate  in  Western  Europe  and  South  Asia  are  more  likely  to  speak  English  well  than  their  peers  that   speak  languages  indigenous  to  Africa,  Latin  America,  Eastern  Europe  and  East  Asia.     Despite  better-­‐than-­‐average  English  proficiency  rates  among  Ohioans  that  primarily  speak  other   languages,  more  than  250,000  Ohioans  are  Limited  English  Proficient,  which  presents  the  State  with   challenges  in  providing  adequate  access  to  state  services  for  these  Ohioans.  The  impact  may  be  most   keenly-­‐felt  in  the  state’s  education  system,  where  an  estimated  39,800  LEP  students  that  natively  speak   more  than  110  different  languages  were  enrolled  during  the  2010-­‐2011  school  year  -­‐  an  increase  of  

14  


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       199%  since  200033.  This  report,  however,  will  instead  examine  the  impact  of  Ohio’s  LEP  population  on   the  provision  of  legal  and  medical  services  in  Ohio.  

Representative John  Patterson   House  District  99   County  

# of  LEP  

% LEP  

Ashtabula

1714

1.80%

Geauga

3,605

4.10%

Source: 2012  American  Community  Survey  Five-­‐Year  Estimates  

4. Law Regulating  Language  Access  in  Ohio  Courts   Section  4(A)  features  a  summary  of  relevant  federal  and  state  law,  for  the  sake  of  maintaining  a   digestible  format  and  length  for  this  Latino  Community  Report.  For  an  exhaustive  detailing  of  relevant   state  and  federal  law,  please  see  the  expanded  legal  notation  in  this  Report’s  appendix,  beginning  on   page  31.   Multiple  sources  of  federal  and  state  law  mandate  the  use  of  an  interpreter  for  LEP  individuals  in  many   courtroom  settings.  Federal  sources  for  this  requirement  include  the  U.S.  Constitution,  two  federal   statutes,  a  federal  executive  order,  an  administrative  guidance  and  federal  court  rules.  At  the  state  level,   the  provision  of  interpreter  services  in  Ohio  courts  is  mandated  by  state  statute,  state  case  law  and  the   Ohio  Supreme  Court’s  Rules  of  Superintendence.     Courts  have  found  that  failing  to  provide  an  interpreter  violates  a  party’s  due  process  rights  in  the  Fifth   and  Fourteenth  Amendments  as  well  as,  in  criminal  cases,  his  Sixth  Amendment  rights  to  effective   assistance  of  counsel  and  confrontation  of  witnesses.34  Courts  have  held  that  a  criminal  defendant  is  not   granted  due  process  when  he  is  not  given  the  opportunity  to  meaningfully  participate  in  his  own  trial.   They  have  also  reasoned  that  counsel  cannot  provide  effective  assistance  through  a  language  barrier   without  interpretive  services  and  that  a  defendant’s  right  to  confront  witnesses  against  him  is  violated   when  no  interpreter  is  provided  for  him  to  understand  the  testimony.     In  addition  to  the  U.S.  Constitution  and  attendant  case  law,  the  federal  Court  Interpreters  Act  mandates   the  use  of  an  interpreter  in  most  cases  where  an  LEP  individual  is  a  defendant  in  federal  court.   Accordingly,  the  federal  courts  have  created  a  robust  set  of  rules  governing  the  appointment,   qualification  and  compensation  of  interpreters  practicing  before  them.  This  law  requires  the   appointment  of  certified  interpreters  in  federal  courts,  and  contains  myriad  rules  that  outline   certification  protocols  as  well  as  judicial  appointments  of  interpreters.    

                                                                                                                      33

Profile  of  Ohio's  English  Language  Learners  (ELL)/  Limited  English  Proficient  (LEP)  Students,  Ohio  Department  of  Education,   June  2012.   34 nd  See,  e.g.,  U.S.  ex  rel  Negron  v.  New  York,  434  F.  2d  386,  389  (2  Circuit,  1970).  

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Additionally, Title  VI  of  the  Civil  Rights  Act  of  1964  prohibits  discrimination  on  national  origin  grounds,   which  courts  have  construed  to  forbid  language  discrimination  against  LEP  individuals.35  Federal   regulations  promulgated  by  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  and  other  agencies  pursuant  to  Title  VI   extended  this  protection  for  LEP  individuals  to  cases  of  unintentional,  so-­‐called  “disparate  impact”   discrimination  as  well,  and  courts  have  tentatively  upheld  such  regulations.  A  key  executive  order  from   President  Clinton  drastically  expanded  the  duty  federal  agencies  to  deliver  services  to  eligible  LEP   populations,  and  the  agencies  in  turn  enforce  these  strictures  on  all  state,  local  and  community   institutions  that  receive  federal  assistance.36  In  short,  a  thick  set  of  constitutional  rights,  federal  statutes,   administrative  regulations,  judicial  rules,  agency  guidelines  for  recipients  and  an  executive  order   combine  to  protect  an  individual’s  right  to  an  interpreter  in  legal  proceedings.     Examples  DOJ  Federal  Assistance  Recipients  

Example LEP  individuals  served  by  DOJ   Recipients37  

-­‐  Police  and  sheriff's  departments     -­‐  Departments  of  corrections,  jails  and  detention   facilities,  including  those  holding  immigrant   detainees     -­‐  Courts     -­‐  Certain  non-­‐profit  agencies  with  law   enforcement,  public  safety  and  victim  assistance   missions     -­‐  Other  entities  with  a  public  safety  or  emergency   service  mission  

-­‐  People  in  custody,  including  juveniles,  detainees,   wards  and  inmates     -­‐  People  serviced  by  law  enforcement,  including   suspects,  violators,  witnesses,  victims,  those   subject  to  immigration  investigations  and   community  members  involved  in  crime   prevention       -­‐  People  who  encounter  the  court  system     -­‐Family  of  the  above  people    

Ohio regulation  is  no  less  extensive  in  this  area.  The  State  has  an  extensive  legal  scheme  both   requiring  and  regulating  the  appointment  of  interpreters  in  the  state’s  courts.  Ohio  courts  are  required   to  appoint  an  interpreter  where  a  party  or  witness  “cannot  readily  understand  or  communicate”.38  Ohio   case  law  places  the  discretion  in  appointing  and  qualifying  an  interpreter  squarely  on  the  court,39  and   requires  the  court  to  administer  an  oath  to  any  appointed  interpreter.40  For  decades  the  statute  and   attendant  case  law  were  the  sole  sources  of  law  and  regulation  regarding  the  appointment  of   interpreters  in  Ohio  courts,  and  judges  were  free  to  exercise  broad  discretion.     That  discretion  –  both  in  appointment  and  qualification  of  an  interpreter  -­‐  can  be  challenged  on  appeal,   but  the  challenging  party  had  to  be  very  careful  to  protect  the  record  at  trial.  In  the  absence  of  an                                                                                                                           35

See,  e.g.,  Lau  v.  Nichols,  414  U.S.  564  (1974).    Improving  Access  to  Services  for  Persons  with  Limited  English  Proficiency,  Executive  Order  13166,  August,  2000.   37  “Guidance  to  Federal  Financial  Assistance  Recipients  Regarding  Title  VI  Prohibition  Against  National  Origin  Discrimination   Affecting  Limited  English  Proficient  Persons”,  U.S.  Department  of  Justice,  67  F.R.  117,  41455  –  41472,  (2002),  at  41459.   38  Ohio  Rev.  Code  §2311.14(A)(1).   39  See,  e.g.,  Fennen  v.  State,  1903  Ohio  Misc.  LEXIS  143.   40  Ohio  Rev.  Code  §2311.14(B).   36

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       objection  at  trial  to  the  failure  to  appoint  an  interpreter,  an  Ohio  appellate  court  will  only  reverse  a   decision  if  the  failure  to  appoint  an  interpreter  constituted  either  abuse  of  discretion  or  plain  error41,   both  of  which  are  high  legal  standards.  It  does  not  constitute  abuse  of  discretion  or  plain  error  if  a  court   fails  to  appoint  an  interpreter  where  a  party  or  witness  has  an  imperfect  grasp  of  English,  as  long  as  he  is   able  to  understand  and  communicate.42  Likewise,  failure  to  administer  the  requisite  oath  is  not   reversible  error  when  the  party  failed  to  object  at  trial,  and  if  a  defendant  consents  to  the  appointment   of  an  interpreter  at  trial,  without  objection,  he  or  she  cannot  then  raise  a  challenge  to  the  court’s  failure   to  qualify  the  interpreter  on  appeal.43   Ohio  courts  have  not  readily  found  abuse  of  discretion  or  plain  error  in  appellate  cases  turning  on  the   appointment  or  qualification  of  an  interpreter.  When  a  party  does  not  object,  for  example,  the   appointment  of  a  volunteer,  informal  interpreter  does  not  constitute  abuse  of  discretion.44  To  show   plain  error,  the  mistake  in  appointment  or  qualification  must  be  so  egregious  that  it  affects  a  party’s   substantial  rights,  causes  a  miscarriage  of  justice  or  causes  an  unfair  trial,45  and  Ohio  courts  have  been   no  quicker  to  find  plain  error  in  these  cases.  It  is  not  plain  error  for  a  court  to  allow  a  prosecutor  to  call   the  defendant’s  interpreter  as  a  rebuttal  witness,46  for  example.  Nor  is  it  plain  error  for  a  court  to  fail  to   appoint  an  interpreter  during  the  jury  selection  process.47   Courts  have  adopted  a  similar  approach  in  appellate  cases  where  the  qualification,  rather  than   appointment,  of  an  interpreter  is  at  issue.  Ohio  courts  have  said  that  the  court  cannot  simply  appoint  a   relative  or  a  bilingual  person,  but  once  more  that  will  not  always  constitute  reversible  error.48  Still,   family  is  not  totally  barred,  and  the  court  must  qualify  the  interpreter  as  normal49,  though  the   appointment  of  an  interpreter  with  an  obvious  conflict  of  interest  –  like  a  defendant’s  wife  and  co-­‐ defendant50  -­‐  is  reversible  error.    

5. Language Access  in  Ohio  Courts     A  courtroom  defendant’s  constitutional  rights  to  due  process,  effective  assistance  of  counsel  and   confrontation  of  witnesses  must  be  observed  in  Ohio  courts  as  well  as  federal  courts.  The  states  must                                                                                                                           41

State  v.  Saah,  67  Ohio  App.  3d  86,  585  N.E.  2d  999  (1990).    State  v.  Castro,  Ohio  App.  LEXIS  4105  (1995).   43  State  v.  Rosa,  47  Ohio  App.  3d  172.   44  Ohio  v.  Fonseca,  124  Ohio  App.  3d  231,  705  N.E.  2d  1278  (1997).   45  State  v.  Rodriguez,  Ohio  App.  3d  District  No.  9-­‐01-­‐01,  2001  Ohio  2179  (2001).   46 th  State  v.  Gerardi,  2002  Ohio  732,  5  District  (2002).   47 th  State  v.  Frunza,  2003  Ohio  4809,  8  District  (2003).   48 th  State  v.  Gandarella,  Ohio  App.  8  District  No.  36129  (1971).   48 th  In  re  Kinney,  Ohio  App.  7  District,  2001  Ohio  3280  (2001).   48 th  State  v.  Torres,  Ohio  App.  8  District  No.  64335  (1993).   42

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honor the  constitutional  rights  of  their  citizens  because  the  Fourteenth  Amendment  applies  the  Bill  of   Rights  to  the  states.  Likewise,  all  state  courts  receive  money  from  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice,  and  so   must  provide  meaningful  access  to  LEP  individuals  in  accordance  with  the  Department’s  Guidance  on   Title  VI  compliance  for  recipients  of  federal  assistance.  But  beyond  complying  with  the  basic  mandates   in  the  U.S.  Constitution  and  the  overtly  flexible  guidelines  from  the  Department  of  Justice,  the  State  is   not  obligated  to  regulate  the  provision  of  language  services  in  its  courts.  Ohio  was  and  is  not  required  to   adopt  a  statute  addressing  the  provision  of  an  interpreter  in  its  courts,  and  its  judicial  system  remains   free  of  any  imperative  to  develop  an  accompanying  body  of  state  case  law.  Likewise,  the  State  is  under   no  obligation  to  promulgate  a  robust  set  of  rules  akin  to  the  rules  used  for  interpreters  in  federal  courts   for  use  in  its  own  courts.       Yet  it  has  done  exactly  that.  This  report  is,  at  its  heart,  a  juxtaposition  of  two  state-­‐level  enforcement   models  for  the  provision  of  language  services  to  the  quarter  of  a  million  Ohioans  who  are  limited  English   proficient.  Both  have  advantages  and  disadvantages.  The  first  model  is  in  the  provision  of  these  services   in  Ohio’s  courts,  and  in  this  model  Ohio  has  been  proactive.  This  model  has  led  to  excellent  provision  of   language  access  to  Ohio’s  LEP  citizens  that  find  themselves  in  Court.  The  model’s  rigorous  standards  for   the  certification  and  maintenance  of  a  group  of  qualified  interpreters  ensures  that  LEP  Ohioans  are  able   to  meaningfully  participate  in  their  trials,  and  that  their  constitutional  and  civil  rights  will  be  protected.   With  Ohio’s  model,  no  Court  should  fear  the  withdrawal  of  federal  funding  due  to  Title  VI   noncompliance.  These  same  high  standards,  however  -­‐  combined  with  compensation  rates  that  do  not   reflect  the  exhausting  demands  on  these  interpreters  -­‐  have  led  to  a  dearth  of  available  and  appropriate   interpreters.  Additionally,  this  proactive  enforcement  model  is  costlier,  at  least  as  an  initial  investment   from  the  State,  than  the  model  under  which  Ohio’s  medical  providers  operate.     Ohio  went  beyond  mere  statute  and  case  law.  In  December  of  2003,  the  Supreme  Court  of  Ohio  created   the  Interpreter  Services  Program,  which  codified  statewide  standards  for  the  appointment  and   qualification  of  interpreters  in  Ohio  courts.  Through  the  promulgation  of  Rules  of  Superintendence,  the   Supreme  Court  sought  to  regulate  and  normalize  the  constitutional  protection  of  the  rights  of  LEP   individuals  in  Ohio  courts.  These  Rules  are  promulgated  according  to  the  Ohio  Constitution51,  and  are   binding  on  all  courts  of  appeal,  courts  of  common  pleas,  county  courts  and  municipal  courts  in  Ohio.52   This  excludes  only  the  state’s  Supreme  Court  itself  and  mayor’s  “courts”,  which  generally  are  not  treated   as  true  courts  anyway.   The  rules  mandate  than  an  interpreter  appointed  in  Ohio  be  certified53,  and  the  process  for  an   interpreter  to  become  certified  is  arduous.  An  applicant  for  certification  must  be  a  U.S.  citizen,  legal   resident  or  otherwise  have  a  legal  right  to  work  in  the  United  States,  for  starters,  and  the  applicant   undergoes  a  background  check  to  verify  his  eligibility  and  to  check  for  any  disqualifying  convictions  for   crimes  of  “moral  turpitude.”54  Applicants  must  take  an  orientation  course  -­‐  which  in  most  cases  comes                                                                                                                           51

Ohio  Const.  Art.  IV,  Sec  5(A)(1).    Ohio  Sup.  R.  1.   53  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88.   54  Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (B  &  C).   52

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       with  an  accompanying  fee  –  to  cover  the  basics  of  interpreter  ethics,  modes  of  interpretation  and  legal   procedure  and  terminology.55  The  first  obstacle  for  aspiring  certified  interpreters  is  passing  a  written   exam  drafted  by  the  National  Center  for  State  Courts  (NCSC).56  To  advance,  and  applicant  must  score   80%  of  better  in  exam  sections  on  English,  grammar,  court  terms  and  professional  conduct,  and   applicants  that  fall  short  of  this  mark  must  wait  a  year  to  take  the  exam  again.57     Following  the  passage  of  the  written  exam,  applicants  must  take  a  training  course,  for  a  fee,  focused  on   the  simultaneous,  consecutive  and  sight  interpretation  methods  of  interpretation.58  Finally,  to  become   fully  certified,  an  applicant  must  score  70%  or  better  on  all  sections  of  the  oral  examination   administered  by  the  Supreme  Court  of  Ohio.59  Applicants  that  score  less  than  70%  but  higher  than  60%   are  “provisionally  qualified”  for  24  months.60  Ohio’s  certification  scheme  also  contains  reciprocity   provisions  for  interpreters  certified  by  the  federal  court  system,  by  another  CLAC  member  state’s   certification  program,  or  by  the  National  Association  of  Judiciary  Interpreters  and  Translators.61  Upon   their  certification,  Ohio’s  judicial  interpreters  must  take  an  oath  or  affirmation  promising  to  abide  by  the   Code  of  Professional  Conduct  for  Court  Interpreters  and  Translators62,  and  must  take  24  credit  hours  of   continuing  professional  education  –  six  of  which  must  be  on  ethics  –  every  two  years.63      

         

                                                                                                                      55

Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (D).    Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (E).   57  Id.   58  Ohio  Sup.  R.  81(F)   59  Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (G).   60  Id.   61  Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (I).   62  Ohio  Sup.  R.  81  (J).   63  Ohio  Sup.  R.  85  (A).   56

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Geographical Distribution  of  Cases  Involving  Interpreters  in   Ohio  Courts,  2010         Fulton

Williams

Defiance

Putnam

Hancock

Wyandot

Medina Ashland

Richland Hardin

Auglaize

Mercer

Summit Portage

Huron

Crawford

Allen

Trumbull

Lorain

Seneca

Van Wert

Geauga Cuyahoga

Erie

Sandusky

Wood

Paulding

Ottawa

Henry

Marion

Mahoning

Wayne

Stark

Morrow Shelby

Darke Miami

Union

Knox

Preble

Montgomery

Madison Fayette

Butler

Hamilton

Guernsey

Franklin

Greene

Belmont

Muskingum Fairfield

Noble

Perry

Pickaway

Monroe

Morgan Hocking

Clinton

Harrison

Coshocton Licking

Clark

Jefferso

Tuscarawas

Delaware

Champaign

Columbiana Carroll

Holmes

Logan

Ashtabula

Lake

Lucas

Ross

Washington Athens

Vinton Highland

Brown

Meigs

Pike

Clermont Adams

Jackson

Scioto

Gallia Lawrence

Color  

# of  Cases   None  Reported  

1-­‐25

26-­‐100

101-­‐300

301-­‐600

601-­‐2500

2500+

  20    


Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio         These  rules  also  provide  strict  provisions  for  the  appointment  of  interpreters  in  Ohio  courts,  but   maintain  some  autonomy  and  discretion  for  courts.  Ohio  courts  must  appoint  an  interpreter  where  a   party  or  witness  requests  an  interpreter  if  he  or  she  is  LEP  and  the  court  deems  it  necessary  or,  in  the   alternative,  in  the  absence  of  such  a  request  if  the  court  deems  it  necessary.64  In  making  this   determination,  a  Court  must  conduct  an  examination  of  the  party  or  witness  on  the  record  and  using  an   interpreter,  but  this  interpreter  need  not  be  certified.65  Parties  may  waive  the  appointment  of  an   interpreter,  but  they  must  have  a  interpreter  present  when  they  do  so  (who  does  not  need  to  be   certified),  and  a  court  can  ignore  this  waiver  for  the  party’s  protection.66   Courts  must  appoint  an  interpreter  certified  according  to  the  provisions  outlined  above,  except  where   no  certified  interpreter  is  “reasonably  available”.67  In  that  instance,  the  Court  may  appoint  a   provisionally  certified  interpreter,  as  above,  if  the  court  deems  it  appropriate  after  considering  the   gravity  of  the  proceedings  and  the  costs  of  rescheduling.68  If  neither  a  certified  interpreter  nor  a   provisionally  certified  interpreter  is  reasonably  available  -­‐and  the  Court  deems  it  appropriate  in  light  of   the  gravity  of  the  proceedings  and  the  practicability  of  rescheduling  –  the  court  may  appoint  an  informal   interpreter  who  demonstrates  to  the  satisfaction  of  the  court  proficiency  in  both  English  and  the  target   language,  and  who  the  court  believes  is  competent  to  interpret  proceedings.69  If  a  court  appoints  such   an  informal  interpreter,  the  court  must  qualify  him  –  by  documenting  his  or  her  experience,  knowledge   and  training  -­‐  and  administer  an  oath  to  the  individual.70  Additionally,  when  either  a  provisionally   certified  or  informal  interpreter  is  appointed,  the  court  must  document  for  the  record  the  reasons  for   the  appointment  of  a  non-­‐certified  interpreter  and  the  steps  the  court  first  took  to  secure  one.71  Finally,   Ohio’s  rules  require  the  appointment  of  more  than  one  certified  interpreter  when  a  court  function  will   last  two  or  more  hours  and  require  continuous  simultaneous  or  consecutive  interpretation,  when  a   proceeding  will  take  less  than  two  hours  but  its  complexity  warrants  the  appointment  of  a  second   interpreter  or  when  more  than  one  party,  witness  or  juror  require  an  interpreter’s  services.72   Extensive  regulation  in  this  model  has  significant  advantages  for  Ohio  and  the  state’s  LEP  citizens.  First   among  those  advantages,  this  regulatory  scheme  is  a  guarantor  of  constitutional  protections  for  people   over  whom  Ohio  is  exercising  jurisdiction,  many  of  whom  will  be  residents  or  citizens  of  the  State.  It   protects  the  rights  of  Ohioans  to  due  process,  effective  assistance  of  counsel  and  the  confrontation  of   witnesses.  It  guarantees  fairness  and  access  to  justice  for  all  Ohioans,  statewide,  regardless  of  the  court   they’re  before  or  language  they  speak,  which  creates  desirable  predictability  and  faith  in  the  courts  as   just  institutions.  Further,  the  tenets  of  the  program  and  the  promulgated  rules  are  clearly  within  the                                                                                                                           64

Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (A)(1&2).    Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (G).   66  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (H).   67  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (D)(1).   68  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (D)(2).   69  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (D)(3).   70  Id.   71  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (D)  (2&3).   72  Ohio  Sup.  R.  88  (F).   65

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guidelines given  by  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  for  Title  VI  compliance,  and  as  they  mirror  the  rules   adopted  by  federal  courts  and  other  states,  represent  the  highest  standard  in  the  provision  of   interpreters  to  LEP  individuals  accessing  Ohio’s  justice  system.          

Cases Requiring  Interpreters  in  Ohio   Courts  2005-­‐2010  

                 

Year

Number of   Cases  

Number of   Languages  

2005

18,367

57

2007

24,901

69

2008

25,280

68

2009

24,823

64

2010

24,770

66

 

Source: Language  Demographics  in  Ohio  Courts.  

The  most  important  advantage  of  a  thoroughly  regulated  system  like  this,  however,  is  in  the  accuracy   that  it  provides.  When  stakes  are  as  high  as  they  often  are  in  court  –  parental  rights,  property  rights,   incarceration  and  commitment  are  all  often  at  stake  –  the  accuracy  of  the  communication  done  through   an  interpreter  is  of  paramount  importance.  The  use  of  interpreters  certified  under  Ohio’s  rigorous   standards,  creates  more  faith  in  the  proceedings  and  likely  aids  judicial  economy  by  decreasing  the   number  of  cases  each  year  that  are  appealed  under  some  assignment  of  error  regarding  the   appointment  or  qualification  of  an  interpreter.     For  all  of  its  advantages,  however,  this  model  has  a  couple  of  serious  disadvantages.  First,  the  rigorous   and  expensive  certification  process  combines  with  incongruously  meager  interpreter  compensation  to   create  a  serious  dearth  of  interpreters  in  Ohio.  Ohio  has  just  57  interpreters  statewide,  and  just  29   additional  provisionally  certified  interpreters.73  The  shortage  is  not  just  in  numbers  but  in  language   competencies  as  well.  Those  57  interpreters  are  certified  in  a  total  of  just  four  languages  –  Spanish,   Russian,  French  and  Arabic74  -­‐  and  among  those  Spanish  is  dominant.  Just  six  of  those  interpreters  are   certified  in  Russian,  three  are  certified  in  French,  and  only  one  is  certified  in  Arabic.75  In  2010,  Ohio  had   24,770  cases  which  required  the  appointment  of  an  interpreter,  and  these  cases  required  service                                                                                                                           73

Roster  of  Certified,  ASL-­‐Eligible  and  Provisional  Court  Interpreters,  Supreme  Court  of  Ohio,  January  2014.    “Language  Demographics  in  Ohio  Courts”,  Supreme  Court  of  Ohio,  2012.     75  Id.     74

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       delivery  in  66  different  languages.76  In  fact,  over  the  last  several  years  Ohio  averages  about  2,071  cases   per  year  in  which  an  interpreter  was  needed  for  a  language  that  no  certified  Ohio  interpreter  spoke.77  To   meet  this  incredible  demand,  Ohio’s  57  certified  interpreters  would  have  to  each  speak  Spanish  and  at   least  one  other  language  that  none  of  the  others  spoke  –  some  would  have  to  speak  two  or  more  such   languages.  Each  interpreter  would  also  have  to  handle  434  cases  per  year.  It’s  worth  noting  that  Ohio’s   poor  compensation  rates  for  certified  interpreters  incentivize  the  prioritization  of  federal  work  or  work   in  other,  better-­‐paying  states  for  Ohio’s  scarce  certified  interpreters.  Finally,  the  program  is  also  new,   and  is  not  yet  particularly  well-­‐understood  in  the  ranks  of  the  Ohio  judiciary.  Even  now,  judges  in  many   rural  jurisdictions  around  the  state  aren’t  familiar  with  Ohio’s  regulations  on  the  appointment  and   qualification  of  court  interpreters.    

Source: Language  Demographics  in  Ohio  Courts.  

The  program  does  require  state  resources.  The  expense  of  promulgating  the  rules,  hiring  staff,  creating   courses  and  study  materials,  administering  exams  and  hiring  the  requisite  staff  to  implement  these  rules   is  significant.  In  2010,  the  estimated  total  cost  of  the  interpreter  services  program  was  $1,102,421.21  –  a   significant  increase  compared  to  the  years  prior  to  the  advent  of  the  program.78  House  Bill  309,  which   has  passed  the  Ohio  House  of  Representatives  and  is  pending  in  the  130th  General  Assembly,  would   amend  Ohio  statute  to  allow  for  the  costs  of  an  appointed  court  interpreter  to  be  assigned  to  a  party  or   witness  unless  that  party  or  witness  is  indigent.79  Such  a  change  may  be  both  controversial  and  legally   problematic,  however.  In  2013,  the  Michigan  Supreme  Court  adopted  a  similar  Rule  -­‐  allowing  state   courts  to  pass  interpretation  costs  to  LEP  parties  that  were  not  indigent.80  In  a  subsequent  letter  to  the   Michigan  Attorney  General’s  Chief  Legal  Counsel,  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  expresses  its  opposition   to  the  adoption  of  the  Rule  and  its  “grave  concerns  that  the  Rule  will  result  in  national  origin                                                                                                                           76

Id.      Id.     78  Id.   79  Gold,  David.  House  Bill  309  Bill  Analysis,  Ohio  Legislative  Service  Commission,  January  2014.   80  Mich.  Ct.  R.  1.111.   77

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discrimination”81 and  reminds  Michigan  that  its  own  courts  –  like  Ohio’s  are  right  now  –  are  participating   in  a  cooperative  program  review82  with  the  Department  of  Justice.      

6. Law Regulating  Language  Access  in  Ohio  Hospitals     Ohio’s  medical  institutions  are  subject  to  a  smaller  set  of  applicable  federal  laws  in  the  provision  of   language  access  services  than  their  courthouse  counterparts.  While  there  is  much  applicable  federal   law,  in  addition  to  state  law,  which  governs  the  provision  of  language  services  in  courts,  very  few  of   these  sources  of  law  exist  when  language  services  are  provided  in  medical  contexts.  Constitutional   rights  are  not  implicated,  for  starters.  While  the  inadequate  provision  of  language  services  to  an  LEP   individual  may  violate  federal  statute  and  common  law,  an  individual’s  constitutional  rights  to  due   process,  effective  assistance  of  counsel  and  confrontation  of  witnesses  are  not  at  stake.  Likewise,   there  is  no  federal  statute  independent  of  Title  VI  governing  the  provision  of  language  access  in  the   healthcare  industry.  Accordingly,  there  is  therefore  no  body  of  independent  case  law  dealing  with   these  absent  provisions  of  federal  law.  The  healthcare  industry  is  not  governed  centrally,  as  the  state   and  federal  courts  are  by  their  respective  supreme  courts,  either,  so  there’s  no  set  of  rules  of  conduct   governing  language  access  in  the  provision  of  medical  services.  That  leaves  just  Title  VI  of  the  Civil  Rights   Act  with  which  Ohio  hospitals  must  comply  in  their  provision  of  language  services.  The  departmental   guidance  on  Title  VI  compliance  issued  by  the  U.S.  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  (HHS)  is,   therefore,  the  sole  source  of  language  access  laws  by  which  Ohio’s  medical  service  providers  must   abide.   The  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  (HHS)  adopted  a  Guidance  based  on  the  DOJ  Guidance  in   2003.83  In  the  interest  of  consistency,  agencies  were  asked  to  use  the  DOJ  Guidance  as  a  model,  and   that’s  exactly  what  HHS  did,  with  few  modifications.  For  example,  the  HHS  Guidance  suggests  referrals   among  doctors  and  other  providers  with  language-­‐competent  staffers  as  long  as  the  matter  is  not  urgent   and  the  patient  is  not  harmed.84  Except  in  emergency  settings,  HHS  recipients  are  never  to  demand  that   a  patient  use  an  informal  interpreter85,  and  in  situations  where  a  hidden  conflict  of  interest  is   foreseeable  –  such  as  if  a  patient  arrives  with  signs  of  domestic  abuse  and  insists  that  her  husband   translate  –  or  when  a  provider  determines  that  the  medical  terminology  is  too  complex  for  an  informal   interpreter  to  competently  communicate,  HHS  recipients  must  provide  an  interpreter  anyway.86       The  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  also  has  the  same  guidelines  for  determining  vital   documents  that  must  be  translated  that  DOJ  sets  forth.  Their  list  of  likely  vital  documents  includes:                                                                                                                           81

Samuels,  Jocelyn.  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  letter  to  Matthew  Schneider  dated  17  September  of  2013.    Id.     83  68  F.R.  153,  47311  –  47323.   84  Id.  At  47315.   85  Id.  At  47318.   86  Id.   82

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       consent  and  complaint  forms;  intake  forms  with  the  potential  for  important  consequences;  written   notices  of  eligibility  criteria,  rights,  denial,  loss,  or  decreases  in  benefits  or  services;  actions  affecting   parental  custody,  child  support,  or  other  hearings;  notices  advising  LEP  persons  of  free  language   assistance;  written  tests  that  do  not  assess  English  language  competency,  but  test  competency  for  a   particular  license,  job,  or  skill  for  which  knowing  English  is  not  required;  or  applications  to  participate  in   a  recipient’s  program  or  activity  or  to  receive  recipient  benefits  or  services.  Non-­‐vital  documents,  on  the   other  hand,  might  include  hospital  menus,  third-­‐party  materials  distributed  by  the  institution  as  a  public   service,  large  documents  such  as  enrollment  handbooks,  and  general  information  about  the  program   used  for  informational  purposes  only.     The  HHS  guidance  closes  by  outlining  a  similar  enforcement  protocol  to  the  Department  of  Justice’s  -­‐ Title  VI  compliance  among  HHS  recipients  is  enforced  by  the  Department’s  Office  of  Civil  Rights.87  Finally,   the  Guidance  closes  with  an  “FAQ”  for  HHS  recipients  seeking  Title  VI  language  compliance.  This  is  the   only  major  source  of  law  specific  to  medical  language  access  in  Ohio.   Example  HHS  Federal  Assistance  Recipients88     -­‐  Hospitals,  nursing  home,  home  healthcare   agencies  and  managed  care  organizations     -­‐  Universities  and  other  entities  with  health  or   social  service  research  programs     -­‐  State,  county  and  local  health  agencies     -­‐  State,  county  and  local  welfare  agencies     -­‐  State  Medicaid  agencies     -­‐  Programs  for  families,  youth  and  children     -­‐  Head  Start  programs    

Example LEP  individuals  served  by  HHS  Recipients     -­‐  People  seeking  Temporary  Assistance  for  Needy   Families  and  other  social  services     -­‐  People  seeking  health  care  and  health-­‐related   services       -­‐  Community  members  seeking  to  participate  in   health  promotion  or  awareness  activities     -­‐People  that  encounter  the  public  health  system     -­‐  Parents  and  legal  guardians  of  minors  eligible  for   coverage  concerning  such  programs    

7. Language Access  in  Ohio  Hospitals     In  stark  contrast  to  Ohio’s  extensive  regulation  of  court  interpreters,  the  state  has  not  legislated  or   regulated  medial  interpreting  at  all.  Ohio  medical  offices,  clinics,  hospitals,  nursing  homes,  health  &   welfare  agencies  and  all  of  the  vendors,  contractors  and  subcontractors  they  employ,  therefore,  are   subject  to  absolutely  no  state  regulation  of  the  provision  of  interpretive  services.  The  state’s  vast   industry  is  valued  at  hundreds  of  billions  of  dollars  and  it  employs  hundreds  of  thousands  of  Ohioans.                                                                                                                           87

Id.  At  47321-­‐47322.    Id.  At  47313-­‐47314.  

88

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This is  diametrically  opposite  to  the  approach  in  our  courts.  When  an  LEP  Ohioan  encounters  the  state   courts,  he  or  she  can  reasonably  expect  the  provision  of  a  competent,  qualified  interpreter  and  have   confidence  that  his  or  her  English  language  impairment  will  not  interfere  with  fairness  or  with  the   application  of  justice.  When  one  of  Ohio’s  quarter-­‐of-­‐a-­‐million  LEP  residents  walks  into  a  hospital  in   Ohio,  however,  outcomes  are  unpredictable  and  LEP  status  is  a  legitimate  concern.     The  State  of  Ohio  does  not  independently  regulate  Title  VI  prohibitions  on  language  discrimination  in  the   medical  sector  as  it  does  in  the  state’s  courts.  National  origin  is  included  in  the  State’s  non-­‐ discrimination  clause,  89  however,  and  Ohio  courts  are  bound  by  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court’s   determination  that  discrimination  against  an  LEP  individual  constitutes  discrimination  on  national  origin   grounds.  Further,  all  state  agencies  receiving  federal  dollars  and  all  health-­‐oriented  community   organizations  and  medical  institutions  that  receive  those  dollars  are  subject  to  the  HHS  guidance  on  Title   VI  compliance.  But  the  Ohio  Civil  Rights  Commission,  the  State’s  investigatory  agency  for  discriminatory   practices,  does  not  have  jurisdiction  to  enforce  federal  law,  or  to  enforce  state  anti-­‐discrimination  law  in   the  state’s  healthcare  industry.  Many  states,  including  those  with  significant  immigrant  populations  like   Texas,  California  and  New  York90,  have  created  independent  regulatory  schemes  governing  medical   interpreting.  Altogether  ,  this  means  that  the  Office  of  Civil  Rights  at  the  U.S.  Department  of  Health  and   Human  Services  –  specifically  the  Midwest  regional  office  in  Chicago  –  is  the  sole  enforcement  authority   for  the  provision  of  language  access  in  healthcare  in  Ohio.   In  this  vacuum  of  state  regulation  and  enforcement,  institutions  in  Ohio  are  free  to  decide  upon  the   extent  and  type  of  language  services  they  will  offer,  so  long  as  such  provisions  satisfy  the  HHS  guidance   on  Title  VI  compliance.  Some  institutions  use  videoconferencing  interpretation  services,  some  use   language  lines,  some  have  staff  interpreters,  some  hire  interpreters  as  contractors  and  some  contract   with  local  community  organizations  which  provide  interpreter  services.  The  variation  in  services  offered   is  tremendous  –  rural  institutions  offer  fewer  services  in  fewer  languages,  for  example.  Hospitals  in   Columbus  and  central  Ohio  translate  vital  documents  into  Somali  while  a  hospital  in  Toledo  would  not.     Some  healthcare  institutions  also  rely  too  often  on  informal  interpreters  –  a  patient’s  family  or  friend  –   in  the  provision  of  medical  services.  In  the  1990’s,  one  central  Ohio  nonprofit  –  the  Ohio  Hispanic   Coalition  (OHCO)  –  introduced  their  Promotoras  de  Salud  Program,  wherein  trained  bilingual  community   health  workers  were  placed  at  the  Columbus  Neighborhood  Health  Centers  and  at  Columbus  Public   Health  clinics.  As  a  result  of  this  partnership,  OHCO  was  instrumental  in  assisting  the  Universal   Healthcare  Action  Network  of  Ohio  (UHCAN  Ohio)  in  addressing  the  need  for  language  access  policies  at   local  hospitals.  OHCO  brought  other  community  based-­‐organizations  -­‐  such  as  Asian  American   Community  Services,  Somali  Women  &  Children  Alliance,  Jewish  Family  Services  and  the  Cambodian   Mutual  Assistance  Association  -­‐  to  become  part  of  what  became  a  multi-­‐agency  collaborative.  An   assessment  was  created  and  each  agency  conducted  the  assessment  within  its  own  community.    OHCO   conducted  the  assessment  of  language  access  services  to  LEP  Hispanics  in  central  Ohio  medical   institutions.  Each  of  the  agencies  encountered  horror  stories  in  their  research  –  anecdotal  evidence  of                                                                                                                           89

See  Ohio  Revised  Code  §4112.02.    See,  e.g.,  California  Standards  for  Healthcare  Interpreters,  California  Healthcare  Interpreters  Association,  2002.  

90

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       the  use  of  children  as  young  as  three  as  medical  interpreters  and  more.  They  found  that  the  provision  of   language  access  at  central  Ohio  medical  institutions  was  woefully  insufficient.     The  Coalition  invited  the  United  States  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services  Office  of  Civil  Rights   in  Chicago  to  visit  Columbus  to  hear  from  the  community  about  their  experiences  and  the  lack  of   language  services  accessibility.    As  a  result  of  this,  the  collaborative  submitted  a  complaint  with  the  HHS   Office  of  Civil  Rights  in  Chicago.  OCR  opened  an  investigation  and  reviewed  several  hospitals  in  central   Ohio,  and  demanded  corrective  measures  be  implemented  at  these  hospitals  for  them  to  remain   compliant  with  Title  VI.  In  the  face  of  this  and  other  pressure  –  particularly  the  renewed  federal   emphasis  on  language  access  at  the  turn  of  the  century  manifested  in  Executive  Order  13166  –  central   Ohio  hospitals  began  hiring  and  contracting  interpreters  in  earnest.  Shortly  thereafter,  the  Ohio  Hispanic   Coalition  and  the  collaborative  received  a  grant  to  begin  a  medical  interpreting  program  within  each   community  in  central  Ohio.  Today,  despite  increasing  competition  from  for-­‐profit  interpretive  services   agencies,  the  Ohio  Hispanic  Coalition’s  program  is  still  running,  and  it’s  grown.  It  is  now  statewide  and   offers  services  in  over  50  of  the  most  used-­‐languages  today.     The  Ohio  Hispanic  Coalition  trains  its  interpreters  according  to  standards  modeled  by  national   professional  organizations  for  medical  interpreters.  There  are  several  such  organizations,  including  the   National  Council  on  Interpreting  in  Healthcare,  the  National  Board  of  Certification  for  Medical   Interpreters  and  the  International  Medical  Interpreters  Association,  to  name  a  few.  None  of  these  are   governmental  agencies,  but  in  the  absence  of  standardized  certification  requirements  in  Ohio  or   federally,  their  guidelines  and  programming  are  authoritative  in  the  field.  The  OHC  training  is  several   days  long  and  focuses  heavily  on  medical  terms  and  procedures,  ethical  standards  and  interpretive   techniques.  A  medical  professional  conducts  eight  hours  of  medical  terminology  training  on  the  last  day.   At  the  conclusion  of  the  training,  applicants  must  pass  an  examination  before  they  may  interpret  for   OHCO.  The  coalition  provides  over  40  hours  of  training  to  their  interpreters.  Note  that  this  training   process  is  not  part  of  any  standardized  certification  scheme  –  it  is  simply  the  training  protocol  at  one   community  organization  offering  medical  interpreting  in  Ohio.     This  model,  where  Ohio  does  not  become  involved  at  all  with  medical  language  services  at  all,  bears  its   own  set  of  advantages.  First,  the  State  of  Ohio  spends  nothing  on  its  medical  interpreting  program,   compared  to  more  than  a  million  annually  on  the  legal  interpreter  program.  This  deregulated  system   also  offers  local  control,  which  means  an  institution  has  the  flexibility  to  choose  language  services   appropriate  to  its  service  population  but  within  its  budget.  In  the  legal  interpreting  program,  by   contrast,  every  court  in  the  state  must  follow  the  same  rigid  rules  in  the  provision  of  interpreter   services,  regardless  of  the  population  they  serve  or  their  budgets.  Ohio’s  laissez  faire  approach  in   medical  interpreting  is  much  more  market-­‐driven  and  flexible  than  the  state’s  approach  to  legal   interpreting.   This  system  also,  of  course,  has  disadvantages.  Medical  interpreting  is  less  reliable,  accurate,  egalitarian   or  predictable  than  legal  interpreting  in  Ohio.  An  LEP  Ohioan  seeking  service  at  a  medical  institution  in   Ohio  cannot  predict  the  manner  or  adequacy  of  the  language  services  to  which  he  or  she  will  have   access.  Instead,  the  budget,  manner  and  location  of  the  facility  he  chooses  will  determine  the  variety   27    


and quality  of  language  services  offered.  This  is  inherently  unequal  –  demographics  demand  that  LEP   Ohioans  in  urban  areas  have  hospitals  that  offer  much  more  in  the  variety  and  quality  of  language   services  than  their  rural  counterparts.  Further,  the  reliable  accuracy  that  certified  interpreters  provide   to  legal  proceedings  is  absent  in  medical  interpreting  in  Ohio.  The  Ohio  Hispanic  Coalition  still  sees   anecdotal  evidence  of  Title  VI  noncompliance  as  well,  particularly  regarding  the  use  of  informal   interpreters.  Hospitals  use  young  children  as  interpreters  occasionally,  and  potential  abusers  or  other   friends  or  relatives  of  the  patient  who  may  have  conflicts  of  interest,  are  used  as  interpreters  with  some   regularity.  Finally,  there  is  also  a  shortage  of  medical  interpreters  in  Ohio  –  even  in  the  absence  of  an   arduous  certification  program.  While  the  shortage  is  not  nearly  as  severe,  anecdotally  there  are   persistent  interpreter  shortages  at  medical  facilities  in  Cleveland,  Lorain  and  Toledo.    

8. Conclusion –  Could  Compensation  Be  the  Key?     Each  of  the  two  models  for  the  provision  of  language  services  in  Ohio  –  in  courts  and  in  hospitals  –  has   advantages  and  disadvantages  for  LEP  Ohioans,  the  State  of  Ohio  and  the  institutions  themselves.  For   the  most  part,  as  the  two  models  are  opposites  -­‐  their  advantages  differ  and  their  disadvantages  differ.   The  legal  model  prioritizes  quality  and  universality  while  the  medical  model  prefers  flexibility  and   frugality,  for  example.  Both  also  have  serious  but  disparate  drawbacks.  The  perfect  solution  combines   their  strengths  and  minimizes  their  weaknesses.  But  they  both  face  one  shared  problem  to  differing   degrees  –  a  shortage  of  interpreters  relative  to  demand.     Compensation  for  qualified,  competent  interpreters  is  low  for  several  historical,  economic  and   demographic  reasons.  First  among  them  is  the  reality  that  language  skills  simply  are  not  valued  in  the   United  States  or  in  Ohio  in  the  way  that  they  are  elsewhere  in  the  world.  Demographically,  immigration   to  the  United  States  slowed  to  a  trickle  between  the  Great  Depression  and  the  1970’s.  The  great  waves   of  immigrants  from  Poland,  Italy,  Germany,  Ireland  and  elsewhere  in  Europe  were  by  then  assimilated   groups  that  had  spoken  English,  often  exclusively,  for  a  generation.  This  resulted  in  multi-­‐generational   linguistic  isolation  in  the  United  States,  where  English  was  the  only  language  spoken  with  any  regularity.   By  the  time  immigration  to  the  United  States  picked  up  in  earnest  again  in  the  1970’s,  the  country  was   isolated  linguistically  and  did  not  value  other  languages.  While  that  axiom  may  be  shifting,  the  shift  has   been  slow.  Today,  for  example,  in  many  parts  of  the  country  open  hostility  to  languages  other  than   English  is  almost  a  requisite  for  “patriotism”.  Further,  many  states  and  municipalities  have  considered   passing  “English  only”  laws,  and  some  company  policies  have  discouraged  the  use  of  languages  other   than  English  in  the  workplace.   Because  language  skills  are  not  valued  in  the  U.S.,  market  forces  do  not  prop  compensation  rates  for   language  professionals.  A  bilingual  employee  is  an  asset  for  an  employer  –  there  is  simply  a  broader   scope  of  work  he  or  she  is  capable  of  than  an  otherwise  identical  but  monolingual  colleague.  This  is   increasingly  true  as  free  trade,  international  investment  and  loosened  immigration  laws  propels  the   28    

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       disparate  pockets  of  humanity  close  together  toward  globalization.  Yet  that  employee’s  language  skill,   which  is  absolutely  and  indisputably  an  asset,  will  earn  him  no  more  than  that  monolingual  colleague.   While  some  corporations  are  beginning  to  offer  “bilingual  differentials”  and  other  incentives  to  attract  a   labor  force  with  diverse  language  skills,  it  is  not  yet  prevalent.  Bilingual  employees  are  not  paid  more  for   their  expanded  value  because  our  economy  does  not  yet  value  language  skills.     Accordingly,  students  and  young  professionals  choose  to  study  and  develop  other  skills  in  lieu  of   language  skills.  Because  compensation  is  so  low,  students  do  not  seek  and  schools  do  not  offer   interpreting  or  translation  programs  independently  from  their  foreign  language  programs,  even  though   the  requisite  skills  to  translate  or  interpret  are  separate  and  distinct  from  general  language  proficiency.   Compounding  this  problem,  the  rigorous  standards  of  the  court  interpreters  program  in  Ohio  and  others   like  it  will  further  dissuade  qualified  interpreters  from  pursuing  certification  or  careers  as  interpreters.     Compensation  for  Ohio  Court  Interpreters               The  solution,  of  course,  is  artificially  inflating  interpreter  compensation.  Federal  courts,  agencies  and   institutions  do  this  already,  and  many  states  have  followed  suit.  Ohio’s  interpreters  earn  much  less  than   their  counterparts  in  other  states,  and  will  always  choose  to  work  in  federal  court  over  state  court   because  it  pays  better.  In  a  letter  to  a  couple  of  congressional  leaders  last  year,  the  National  Association   of  Judiciary  Interpreters  and  Translators  called  upon  Oregon  to  raise  its  interpreter  compensation  rates   for  these  same  reasons.91  If  legal  interpreters  in  Ohio  were  compensated  more  competitively,  students   and  young  professionals  would  begin  to  pursue  these  careers.  If  demand  were  sufficient,  community   colleges  and  other  educational  institutions  could  begin  offering  coursework  in  interpreting  and   translation  techniques,  independent  of  the  language  in  question.   This  would,  however,  add  costs  to  an  already  costly  system.  Many  county  courts  particularly,  in  the   State’s  rural  areas,  do  not  budget  sufficiently  for  the  costs  of  interpreters  as  it  is.  Further,  these  may  not   even  be  the  best  costs  to  add.  While  both  systems  have  advantages  and  disadvantages,  a  certification   protocol  for  medical  interpreters  in  Ohio  would  vastly  improve  the  provision  of  language  services  to   Ohio’s  large  and  growing  LEP  population.  It  would  compound  the  interpreter  shortage  as  well,  but  this   could  be  offset  by  making  Ohio’s  interpreter  compensation  rates  more  competitive.  Ultimately,  as  ever,                                                                                                                           91

Estill,  John.  Letter  to  Oregon  State  Senator  Jackie  Winters  and  State  Representative  Jennifer  Williamson,  April   2013.  

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2014  

Ohio’s elected  leaders  and  the  General  Assembly  must  find  the  wisest  course  for  the  all  Ohioans  –  even   those  250,000  that  struggle  with  English.                                                    

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio      

Appendix -­‐  Federal  and  State  Laws  Governing  Language  Access  in  Legal  and   Medical  Contexts   A. Federal  Law  on  Language  Access  in  the  Provision  of  Legal  Services   A(1).   The  U.S.  Constitution  Demands  Language  Services  for  LEP  Individuals  in  Legal   Proceedings   The  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  recognized  that  when  a  court  failed  to  appoint  an  attorney  or   an  interpreter  for  an  LEP  criminal  defendant,  he  “was  denied  the  due  process  of  law  which  the   Fourteenth  Amendment  requires”  as  early  as  1948.92  Since  then,  federal  courts  have  overwhelmingly   indicated  that  an  LEP  criminal  defendant  has  a  right  to  an  interpreter,  couched  in  the  U.S.  Constitution.93   The  cases  indicate  the  due  process  clause  in  the  Fifth  Amendment94  and,  particularly,  the  Fourteenth   Amendment95,  make  it  imperative  that  a  defendant  is  given  the  opportunity  to  understand  and   participate  in  his  trial.96  Likewise,  courts  have  held  that  the  failure  to  provide  an  interpreter  to  an  LEP   criminal  defendant  violates  his  Sixth  Amendment  rights97  to  have  the  effective  assistance  of  counsel  and   confront  witnesses  against  him.98   In  U.S.  ex  rel  Negron  v.  New  York,  a  defendant  spoke  only  Spanish  and  was  convicted  of  murder  at  trial.99   The  defendant’s  attorney  did  not  speak  Spanish,  and  only  two  of  the  witnesses  that  testified  spoke   Spanish.  Defendant  was  not  provided  an  interpreter  for  the  testimony  of  the  English-­‐speaking   witnesses.100  The  Court  ruled  that  the  Fifth,  Fourteenth  and  Sixth  Amendments  guaranteed  an  LEP   criminal  defendant  an  interpreter.101  The  Court  also  indicated  that  it  was  the  State’s  duty  to  pay  for  such   an  interpreter  and  advise  LEP  defendants  of  this  right.102  

A(2). Federal  Statutes,  Rules  and  Regulations  Mandate  Language  Services  for  LEP   Individuals  in  Legal  Proceedings   Congress  codified  the  interpretation  of  the  U.S.  courts  in  the  Court  Interpreters  Act.103  This  statute   authorized  the  Director  of  the  Administrative  Office  of  United  States  Courts  to  adopt  rules  regarding  the   appointment,  certification,  qualification  and  compensation  of  interpreters  used  in  federal  courts.104    

                                                                                                                      92

Marino  v.  Ragen,  332  U.S.  561,  562  (1948).     st  See,  e.g.,  U.S.  v.  Carrion,  488  F.  2d  12,  14  (1  Circuit,  1973).   94  U.S.  Const.,  amend.  V.   95  U.S.  Const.,  amend  XIV.   96 nd  See,  e.g.,  U.S.  ex  rel  Negron  v.  New  York,  434  F.  2d  386,  389  (2  Circuit,  1970).   97  U.S.  Const.,  amend  VI.   98  U.S.  ex  rel.  Negron,  supra,  at  389.   99  Id.  at  386.   100  Id.   101  Id.  at  389.   102  Id.   103  28  U.S.C.  §1827.   104  Id.   93

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These rules  apply  to  all  federal  courts  except  the  U.S.  Supreme  Court,  and  apply  to  all  in-­‐court  criminal   proceedings  and  all  in-­‐court  civil  proceedings  in  which  the  United  States  is  the  plaintiff.105       This  statute  led  to  the  promulgation  of  a  robust  system  of  rules  regarding  the  use  of  interpreters  in   federal  courts.    Federal  courts  must  appoint  certified  interpreters  for  LEP  parties  under  the  above   circumstances,  and  such  appointments  also  include  pretrial  and  probationary  hearings  and   consultations.106   These  rules  also  cover  an  interpreter’s  qualifications.  Interpreters  can  be  either  “certified”,   “professionally  qualified”  or  “language-­‐skilled/ad  hoc.”107  Certified  interpreters  in  federal  courts  must   have  taken  and  passed  the  Federal  Court  Interpreter  Certification  Examination.108  Thus  far,  the   Administrative  Office  has  created  a  testing  and  certification  program  for  Spanish,  Navajo  and  Haitian   Creole.109  Interpreters  in  all  other  languages  are  “professionally  qualified”  and,  to  work  in  a  federal   court,  must  either  have  passed  the  State  Department’s  conference  or  seminar  interpreter  test  –  or  the   United  Nations  interpreter  test  -­‐  in  English  and  the  target  language,  or  be  a  member  in  good  standing  of   the  Association  Internationale  des  Interprètes  de  Conférence  (AIIC);  or  The  American  Association  of   Language  Specialists  (TAALS)  whose  membership  qualifications  include  fluency  in  both  English  and  the   target  language.110   Federal  courts  must  appoint  a  certified  interpreter  if  one  is  reasonably  available.111  If  such  an  interpreter   is  not  reasonably  available  –  because,  for  example,  there  is  no  certification  program  for  the  language  in   question  -­‐  the  Court  may  appoint  a  professionally  qualified  interpreter  instead,  if  one  is  reasonably   available.112  Only  if  neither  is  available  may  the  Court  appoint  an  ad  hoc  interpreter  who  is  skilled  in   English  and  the  target  language,  and  the  Court  must  voir  dire  the  interpreter  to  determine  his  or  her   qualifications  and  experience.113  The  federal  rules  also  set  compensation  for  the  various  levels  of   interpreters  and  mandate  administration  of  an  oath  for  interpreters.114       Court  interpreters  for  LEP  individuals  are  also  required  by  civil  rights  law.  Title  VI  of  the  1964  Civil  Rights   Act  prohibits  federal  agencies  from  discriminating  in  the  provision  of  services  on  grounds  of  race,  color   or  national  origin.115  Specifically,  Section  601  says  “no  person  shall,  on  the  ground  of  race,  color,  or   national  origin,  be  excluded  from  participation  in,  be  denied  the  benefits  of,  or  be  subjected  to  

                                                                                                                      105

Guide  to  Judiciary  Policy,  Vol.  5,  §210.10.    Id.  at  §235.10.   107  Id.  at  §320.   108  Id.  at  §320.10.   109  Id.   110  Id.  at  §320.20.20.   111  28  U.S.C.  §1827.   112  Guide  to  Judiciary  Policy,  supra,  at  §320.20.   113  Id.     114  Id.  at  Chapter  3,  Chapter  4.   115  42  U.S.C.  §2000  et.  seq.   106

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       discrimination  under  any  program  or  activity”  covered  by  Title  VI.116  The  following  section,  602,   authorizes  these  agencies  to  promulgate  rules  designed  to  enforce  this  provision.117   The  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  has  drafted  several  regulations  designed  to  enforce  this  prohibition  on   discrimination.  One  such  regulation  extended  this  prohibition  on  discrimination  to  all  institutions  that   were  recipients  of  federal  funds.118  Further  regulations  from  the  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  require   proactive  steps  for  guaranteeing  language  access  in  communities  with  large  populations  of  linguistic   minorities,  saying  “where  a  significant  number  or  proportion  of  the  population  eligible  to  be  served  or   likely  to  be  directly  affected  by  a  federally  assisted  program...  needs  service  or  information  in  a  language   other  than  English  in  order  effectively  to  be  informed  of  or  to  participate  in  the  program,  the  recipient   shall  take  reasonable  steps,  considering  the  scope  of  the  program  and  the  size  and  concentration  of   such  population,  to  provide  information  in  appropriate  languages  to  such  persons.  This  requirement   applies  with  regard  to  written  material  of  the  type  which  is  ordinarily  distributed  to  the  public.”119  The   DOJ  and  other  agencies  have  since  adopted  several  other  regulations,  including  regulations  prohibiting   conduct  or  policies  that  result  in  disparate  impacts  upon  LEP  individuals.120   In  2000,  President  Clinton  further  strengthened  the  prohibition  of  discrimination  against  LEP  individuals   in  Title  VI  by  signing  Executive  Order  13166.  Entitled  “Improving  Access  to  Services  for  Persons  with   Limited  English  Proficiency”,  the  Executive  Order  requires  federal  agencies  to  examine  their  services  and   identify  a  need  for  those  services  among  LEP  individuals.121  The  order  requires  that  the  agencies  then   work  to  install  protocols  to  ensure  that  LEP  individuals  have  “meaningful  access”  to  those  services.122   Finally,  and  critically,  the  Order  requires  that  federal  agencies  work  to  ensure  that  institutions  receiving   federal  dollars  provide  the  same  access  to  the  people  they  serve.123  That  is,  not  only  are  federal  agencies   subject  to  Title  VI  compliance,  but  any  institution  that  receives  federal  money  is  as  well.  The  Executive   Order  also  charged  the  Department  of  Justice  with  guiding  other  agencies  in  enforcing  Title  VI   compliance  on  the  recipients  of  their  assistance.124     It  was  not  immediately  clear  from  Title  VI  how  language  discrimination  was  related  to  national  origin   discrimination.  The  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  ruled  in  Lau  v.  Nichols,  however,  that   regulations  promulgated  by  another  federal  agency  forbade  conduct  which  resulted  in  a  disparate   impact  on  LEP  individuals,  as  that  conduct  resulted  in  national  origin  discrimination.125  In  that  case,  a  San  

                                                                                                                      116

Id.    Id.     118  28  C.F.R.  §42.104(b)(2).   119  28  C.F.R.  §42.405(d)(1).   120  See,  e.g.,  Lau  v.  Nichols,  414  U.S.  564  (1974).   121  Improving  Access  to  Services  for  Persons  with  Limited  English  Proficiency,  Executive  Order  13166,  August,  2000   122  Id.   123  Id.   124  Id.   125 See  Lau  v.  Nichols,  supra.   117

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Francisco school  district  with  a  large  number  of  students  of  Chinese  origin  was  obligated  to  provide   them  with  a  meaningful  access  to  federally-­‐funded  education  programs.126     The  Court  has  not  gone  as  far  to  protect  LEP  individuals  from  discrimination  as  it  has  other  protected   classes,  however.  While  the  Court  in  Lau  acknowledged  that  regulations  promulgated  under  §602  that   forbid  disparate  impact  on  LEP  individuals  are  valid,  the  Court  noted  in  Alexander  v.  Sandoval  that  the   statute  itself  prohibited  only  intentional  discrimination,  and  not  the  unintended  discriminatory   outcomes  conduct  or  policies  that  result  in  disparate  impact  on  LEP  individuals.127  The  Court  also   rejected  the  notion  that  private  individuals  have  an  implied  right  of  action  to  sue  for  disparate  impact   discrimination,  instead  noting  that  an  agency’s  power  to  defund  an  institution  was  the  enforcement   mechanism  that  Congress  intended.128  The  Alexander  Court  did  acknowledge  once  more  that  federal   regulations  promulgated  under  §602  could  legitimately  prohibit  disparate  impact  discrimination,  but   was  careful  to  be  clear  that  it  was  making  that  assumption  solely  for  the  purpose  of  deciding  the   Alexander  case.129   The  Court’s  rejection  of  a  private  right  of  action  under  Title  VI  for  policies  resulting  in  disparate  impacts   on  LEP  individuals  –  and  it’s  weak-­‐to-­‐nonexistent  endorsement  of  agency  regulations  that  do  the  same  -­‐   leaves  the  door  ajar  for  further  suits  challenging  the  legitimacy  of  regulations  like  these.  A  fringe  of  legal   scholars  believe  that  the  Alexander  case  impliedly  invalidated  all  such  regulations.  No  court,  however,   has  thus  far  taken  that  position,  and  the  Department  of  Justice  under  President  George  W.  Bush   reaffirmed  these  regulations  and  Executive  Order  13166,  noting  that  the  Court  did  not  strike  down  any   such  regulations  in  Alexander.130  Accordingly,  U.S.  statute  forbids  intentional  discrimination  against  LEP   individuals  and  myriad  federal  rules  and  regulations  prohibit  agencies  and  funding  recipients  from   practices  that  result  in  disparate  impacts  on  LEP  individuals.  Such  agencies  and  organizations  are   required  to  provide  appropriate  language  services  at  no  cost  to  LEP  individuals.  

1(C). Federal  Regulations  on  Title  VI  Compliance  Apply  to  All  Non-­‐Federal  Institutions   that  Receive  Federal  Assistance   The  U.S.  Department  of  Justice  issued  a  “Guidance”  in  2002,  under  the  terms  of  Executive  Order  13166,   for  recipients  of  federal  funds  on  providing  access  to  LEP  individuals  in  order  to  remain  in  compliance   with  Title  VI.  The  Guidance  begins  by  charging  all  recipients  of  federal  financial  assistance  with  providing   meaningful  access  to  LEP  people  and  defining  the  scope  of  federal  financial  assistance  to  include  grants,   training,  donation  of  surplus  property,  use  of  equipment,  “and  other  assistance.”131  Covered  institutions   are  reminded  that  Title  VI  compliance  requirements  extend  to  a  recipient’s  entire  operation  –  not  just  

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Id.    Alexander  v.  Sandoval,  532  U.S.  275  (2001)  at  280.   128  Id.  at  289-­‐290.   129  Id.  at  281.   130  “Memorandum  for  Heads  of  Departments  and  Agencies,  General  Counsels  and  Civil  Rights  Directors”.  Assistant  Attorney   General  Ralph  F.  Boyd,  Jr,  U.S.  Department  of  Justice.  October  26,  2001.   131  “Guidance  to  Federal  Financial  Assistance  Recipients  Regarding  Title  VI  Prohibition  Against  National  Origin  Discrimination   Affecting  Limited  English  Proficient  Persons”,  U.S.  Department  of  Justice,  67  F.R.  117,  41455  –  41472,  (2002),  at  41459.   127

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       the  program  that  is  federally  funded  –  and  to  any  sub-­‐recipients  federal  assistance.132  Finally,  the  DOJ   reminds  recipients  in  jurisdictions  where  English  is  the  official  language  that  their  institutions  are   nevertheless  obligated  to  be  in  compliance  with  Title  VI.133     The  Guidance  defines  LEP  as  native  speakers  of  another  language  that  have  difficulty  speaking,  writing,   reading  or  understanding  English  and  lists,  not  exclusively,  some  persons  that  must  be  provided  with   language  assistance.134  They  include  suspects,  violators,  victims,  witnesses,  inmates,  detainees,  those   subject  to  immigration  proceedings  and  those  that  encounter  the  court  system,  as  well  as  their  family   members.135  The  Guidance  also  lists  institutions  obligated  to  comply  with  Title  VI,  and  then  turns  to  the   specific  requirements  for  providing  meaningful  access.   The  DOJ  calls  their  evaluation  model  “flexible  and  fact-­‐dependent  standard”,  but  begins  with  an   individualized  assessment  of  four  factors.136  The  stated  goal  is  to  ensure  the  provision  of  services  to  LEP   individuals  without  unduly  burdening  small  governments,  businesses  or  non-­‐profits,  and  the  Guidance   encourages  recipients  to  examine  all  programming  and  create  an  LEP  service  delivery  plan  for  each   program  based  on  the  four  factors.137  Those  factors  are:138   1. The  number  or  proportion  of  LEP  individuals  served  or  encountered  in  the  eligible  service   population,  and;   2. The  frequency  with  which  LEP  individuals  come  into  contact  with  the  program,  and;   3. The  nature  and  importance  of  the  program,  activity  or  service  provided,  and;   4. Resources  available  and  costs  to  recipient   The  DOJ  first  asks  recipients  to  measure  the  LEP  population  in  their  service  area,  which  could  be  defined   by  a  grant,  by  jurisdiction  or  by  other  means  and  encourages  agencies  to  consider  the  LEP  parents  and   family  members  of  minors.139  It  tells  agencies  to  examine  census  data  and  population  estimates  from   state  and  local  governments  as  well  as  local  community  organizations,  and  to  analyze  the  breadth  and   scope  of  LEP  encounters  the  agency  has  had  in  the  past  –  keeping  in  mind  that  many  eligible  populations   may  be  historically  underserved  due  to  language  barriers.140     The  second  factor  asks  recipients  to  analyze  the  frequency  of  their  encounters  with  LEP  persons  as  well   as  the  languages  they  speak  –  an  institutions  serving  Spanish-­‐speakers  daily,  for  example  -­‐  may  need   assistance  with  Spanish  that  outweighs  language  assistance  for  languages  encountered  much  more   rarely.141  Institutions  still  must  have  a  plan  for  providing  services  to  rarely-­‐encountered  linguistic   minorities.142  The  Guidance  also  contemplates  the  nature  and  importance  of  the  service  provided,  and                                                                                                                           132

Id.    Id.   134  Id.   135  Id.   136  Id.   137  Id.   138  Id.   139  Id.  at  41460.   140  Id.   141  Id.   142  Id.   133

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specifically notes  that  individuals  involved  in  legal  proceedings  and  seeking  medical  care  are  very  high   priorities,  and  will  require  adequate  measures  to  guarantee  language  access.143   The  fourth  factor  considers  a  recipient’s  resources  and  the  costs  of  providing  language  access.  The   Guidance  notes  that  smaller  recipients  with  smaller  budgets  need  not  provide  the  same  level  of   language  services  as  larger,  better-­‐endowed  recipients.144  The  guidance  also  warns  recipients  that  they   should  first  exhaust  cost-­‐saving  measures  and  be  prepared  to  thoroughly  document  costs  if  they  plan  to   use  this  fourth  factor  to  limit  language  services.145   These  four  factors  cause  institutions  to  arrive  at  separate  conclusions  regarding  the  strength  and   breadth  of  services  they  must  offer  depending  on  both  the  program  and  language  in  question.    The   DOJ’s  Guidance  breaks  down  potential  language  services  into  two  categories:  interpretation  (oral   language  services)  and  translation  (written  language  services).146  In  both  cases  the  quality  and  accuracy   of  the  language  services  provided  is  critical,  and  the  Guidance  warns  that  simple  bilingual  status  does   not  equate  to  competency  to  interpret  or  translate  –  listening  to  something  in  one  language  and  then   orally  saying  it  in  another,  for  example,  is  an  entirely  separate  skill  from  simply  speaking  another   language.147    Likewise,  some  bilingual  individuals  may  not  be  competent  to  translate  simply  because   they  speak  the  language.  The  Guidance  does  note,  however,  that  competency  to  interpret  does  not   necessitate  formal  certification  as  an  interpreter,  though  that  helps.148     The  Department  of  Justice  lists  the  following  factors  in  considering  a  potential  interpreter’s  competence   and  the  quality  of  an  institution’s  interpreter  service:149   1. The  potential  interpreter  demonstrates  proficiency  in  communication  in  both  English  and  in   the  other  language,  and;     2. The  potential  interpreter  identifies  and  employs  the  right  mode  of  interpreting  –   simultaneous,  summarization,  consecutive  or  sight  translation  –  for  each  interpretive  context   and;   3. The  potential  interpreter  has  knowledge  in  both  languages  of  any  specialized  terms  relevant   to  the  program  or  service,  and;   4. The  potential  interpreter  has  knowledge  of  the  particularized  phraseology  and  vocabulary  of   an  LEP  person  –  including  dialectical  deviations,  and;   5. The  potential  interpreter  understands  and  follows  confidentiality  and  impartiality  standards   as  though  she  were  an  employee  of  the  service  provider,  and;   6. The  potential  interpreter  stays  within  his  role  as  an  interpreter  and  does  not  deviate  and   take  on  an  inappropriate  role  as  a  legal  advisor  or  counselor,  and;                                                                                                                           143

Id.    Id.   145  Id.   146  Id.  at  41461.   147  Id.   148  Id.   149  Id.   144

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       7. In  contexts  that  demand  precise,  complete  and  accurate  translation  or  interpretation  –  such   as  legal  proceedings  or  custodial  interrogations  –  recipients  ought  to  use  certified   interpreters,  and;   8. Interpretive  services  are  timely  –  delivered  in  a  time  and  place  that  avoids  the  effective   denial  of  a  service,  benefit  or  right  and  does  not  impose  an  undue  burden  or  delay  on  the   extension  of  such  a  benefit  to  the  LEP  person.   The  Guidance  contemplates  offering  interpreter  services  in  a  variety  of  ways.  It  recommends  hiring   bilingual  staff  where  certain  languages  are  encountered  with  particular  frequency,  but  reminds   recipients  that  interpretation  is  a  separate  skill  from  simple  language  fluency  and  recommends   appropriate  management  strategies  to  utilize  these  personnel  effectively.150  It  recommends  hiring  staff   interpreters  under  the  same  circumstances,  or  contracting  interpreters  –  perhaps  at  a  community   organization  -­‐  where  an  institution  has  no  regular  need  for  a  particular  language  skill,  provided  that   organization  trains  its  interpreters  on  the  particulars  and  dynamics  of  the  program  in  question.151  The   DOJ  recommends  the  use  of  telephonic  interpreters,  particularly  in  contexts  where  the  same   communication  with  an  English-­‐speaker  would  take  place  over  the  phone,  but  cautions  an  institution  to   ensure  that  the  interpreter  on  the  phone  is  competent  to  handle  technical  and  legal  terms  specific  to   the  institution’s  programming.152  The  guidance  suggests  video  conferencing  where  appropriate  to  allow   the  interpreter  and  LEP  client  to  use  nuance  of  facial  expressions,  enunciation  and  body  language  in   communicating  accurately  and,  where  documents  are  involved,  suggests  providing  the  interpreter   adequate  time  to  review  them  before  the  call.153  More,  the  Guidance  contemplates  the  use  of   community  volunteers  as  interpreters  -­‐  particularly  for  use  with  an  institution’s  “less-­‐critical”   programming  –  and  perhaps  by  formal  agreement  with  a  local  community  organization.154  Institutions   are  encouraged  to  ensure  such  volunteers  are  trained  on  the  specifics  and  vocabulary  of  their  program,   competent  to  interpret  and  knowledgeable  about  relevant  confidentiality  and  impartiality  standards.155     Finally,  the  DOJ  Guidance  addresses  the  use  of  informal  interpreters  -­‐  an  LEP  individual’s  family,  friends   or  fellow  custodial  detainees.  Institutions  are  told  never  to  rely  on  such  people  for  offering  meaningful   language  access,  but  to  honor  an  LEP  individual’s  desire  to  have  such  a  person  interpret  for  them  in   addition  to  or  in  place  of  the  institution’s  explicitly-­‐offered,  free  language  services.156  Institutions  are   cautioned  to  ensure  that  the  use  of  an  informal  is  appropriate  in  light  of  the  stakes,  circumstances  and   subject  matter  of  the  dialogue.  In  many  circumstances,  particularly  with  the  use  of  children  as   interpreters,  such  informal  interpreters  are  simply  not  qualified  to  adequately  understand  and  convey   complex  information.157  Privacy  concerns,  including  an  LEP  individual’s  willingness  to  disclose   confidential,  sensitive  or  potentially  embarrassing  medical  or  legal  details  to  family  or  friends,  are  also                                                                                                                           150

Id.  at  41462.    Id.   152  Id.     153  Id.   154  Id.     155  Id.   156  Id.     157  Id.   151

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worthy of  careful  consideration.158  Last,  informal  interpreters  are  more  likely  to  have  a  personal   connection  to  the  LEP  individual,  and  may  have  an  undisclosed  conflict  of  interest.159  For  example,  a   family  member  may  not  faithfully  interpret  with  law  enforcement  if  he  seeks  to  protect  himself  in  a   domestic  violence  or  other  criminal  matter.160   For  these  reasons,  the  Department  recommends  providing  free,  professional  interpretive  services  in  lieu   of  reliance  on  informal  interpreters  wherever  oral  interpretation  is  indicated.161  The  Guidance  is   particularly  clear  that  for  DOJ  recipients,  this  is  a  practical  necessity  in  legal  proceedings  or  other   contexts  where  the  rights  or  benefits  of  an  LEP  person  are  at  stake.162  The  Guidance  specifically   mentions  that  responding  to  a  domestic  violence  call  and  using  informal  interpreters  to  communicate  or   investigate  at  the  scene  is  unacceptable.163  It  urges  agencies  to  ensure  that  an  LEP  individual  choosing  to   use  his  own  interpreter  in  lieu  of  the  institution’s  language  services  is  informed  of  her  right  to  an   interpreter  at  no  cost  and  to  document  the  LEP  individual’s  choice  and,  in  cases  when  an  LEP  individual   insists  on  the  use  of  a  minor  as  an  informal  translator  or  when  the  LEP  individual  has  rights  or  benefits  at   stake,  the  institution  may  be  best  served  by  providing  their  own,  independent  interpreter  anyway,  in   addition  to  the  interpreter  of  the  client’s  choosing.164   Recipients  of  federal  assistance  often  must,  as  a  component  of  their  language  services,  utilize  translation   in  addition  to  or  instead  of  interpretation.  The  DOJ  obliges  the  translation  of  “vital”  documents  into  the   languages  used  by  each  LEP  group  that  is  eligible  for  or  served  by  the  program.165  Vital  documents  are   those  that  are  mandatory  for  providing  meaningful  access  to  the  LEP  populations  a  program  serves,  and   institutions  must  consider  several  factors  in  classifying  a  document  as  “vital”.  If  an  individual  would  be   harmed  –  perhaps  by  the  loss  of  a  right  or  benefit  –  where  information  on  a  document  is  not  provided  in   a  timely  and  accurate  way,  the  document  is  likely  vital.166  The  Guidance  lists  several  documents  that  are   frequently  vital,  including:  complaint  and  consent  forms,  notices  of  loss,  denial,  interruption  or  decrease   in  rights  or  benefits,  notices  of  disciplinary  action,  intake  forms,  applications,  notices  of  available   language  services,  and  written  assessments  required  for  some  license  or  benefit  that  does  not  require   English  fluency.167  Further,  awareness  of  rights  or  services  are  a  critical  part  of  “meaningful  access”,  and   outreach  materials  may  be  vital.168  For  documents  that  are  not  practical  to  translate,  it  may  be  prudent   to  provide  instructions  in  other  languages  on  how  LEP  individuals  might  access  an  oral  interpretation  of   the  document.169  Recipients  must  translate  vital  documents  into  the  languages  that  they  encounter  

                                                                                                                      158

Id.    Id.   160  Id.   161  Id.     162  Id.   163  Id.     164  Id.  at  41463.   165  Id.   166  Id.     167  Id.     168  Id.     169  Id.     159

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Latino Community   Report  –  Language  Access  in  Ohio       most  frequently,  and  DOJ  evaluations  of  adequate  translation  are  conducted  on  a  case-­‐by-­‐case  basis,   use  the  four-­‐factored  analysis  above  and  consider  the  totality  of  the  circumstances.170   With  such  a  complex  and  arguably  subjective  evaluation  protocol,  the  DOJ  has  created  an  alternative.  In   response  to  demand  from  recipient  agencies  of  additional  assurance  that  translation  is  compliant  with   the  requirements  of  Title  VI,  the  Department  of  Justice  created  its  “safe  harbor”  standards.  If  a  recipient   provides  written  translation  according  to  the  safe  harbor  circumstances  outlined  below,  such  action  will   be  considered  “strong  evidence”  of  an  institution’s  compliance  with  its  document  translation   obligations,  but  failure  to  provide  written  translations  according  to  the  safe  harbor  standards  does  not   necessarily  mean  an  institution  is  out  of  compliance.171  Rather,  they  provide  agencies  with  a  guide  to   understanding  when  their  forms  ought  to  be  translated.  There  are  two  routes  to  safe  harbor   compliance:172   a. The  DOJ  recipient  provides  written  translations  of  vital  documents  for  each  eligible  LEP   language  group  that  constitutes  five  percent  or  1,000,  whichever  is  less,  of  the  population  of   persons  eligible  to  be  served  or  likely  to  be  affected  or  encountered.  Translation  of  other   documents,  if  needed,  can  be  provided  orally,  or;     b. If  there  are  fewer  than  50  persons  in  a  language  group  that  reaches  the  five  percent  trigger   in  (a),  the  recipient  does  not  translate  vital  written  materials  but  provides  written  notice  in   the  primary  language  of  the  LEP  language  group  of  the  right  to  receive  competent  oral   interpretation  of  those  written  materials,  free  of  cost.       The  Guidance  reminds  institutions  that  written  translation  may  not  be  enough,  and  oral  interpretive   services  may  still  be  indicated.  It  also  reminds  readers  that  translation  is  a  skill  separate  from   bilingualism  and  even  from  interpretation,  and  that  a  competent  translator  will  understand  the  nuanced   vocabulary  and  phraseology  of  the  target  language  group  as  well  as  the  target  audience’s  reading   level.173  The  DOJ  suggests  using  a  certified  translator  where  appropriate  or  having  a  second  translator   translate  it  back  to  the  original  language  to  check  for  accuracy.174     The  Department  of  Justice  Guidance  ends  with  tips  for  recipient  institutions  on  creating  and   implementing  an  LEP  plan.  Institutions  are  to  consider  the  four  factors,  collect  data  on  the  population   they  serve,  train  staff  on  Title  VI  compliance  requirements,  interacting  with  LEP  clients,  and  accessing   the  selected  language  resources.175  It  also  includes  tips  on  outreach  and  signage  as  well  as  monitoring   and  updating  an  LEP  plan.176  Finally,  the  Guidance  outlines  the  protocol  for  DOJ  investigations  into   allegations  of  language  discrimination,  which  entails  investigating  complaints  or  tips  of  potential   noncompliance  and,  if  the  institution  is  found  to  be  out  of  compliance,  the  DOJ  must  list  steps  for  the                                                                                                                           170

Id.      Id.     172  Id.  at  41464.   173  Id.   174  Id.   175  Id.  at  41465.   176  Id.   171

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institution to  take  to  achieve  voluntary  compliance.177  If  the  recipient  is  unwilling  or  unable  to  achieve   voluntary  compliance,  the  Department  will  terminate  funding  pending  an  administrative  hearing,  and   may  refer  the  matter  to  departmental  litigation  personnel  to  pursue  injunctive  relief  or  other   remedies.178  Finally,  the  DOJ  Guidance  includes  appendices  with  more  specific  instructions  for  its  most   common  recipients  –  law  enforcement  agencies,  detention  centers,  and  courts.179  Enforcement  is   handled  by  the  Federal  Coordination  and  Compliance  Section  of  the  Civil  Rights  Division  of  the   Department  of  Justice.180     This  guidance  is  so  important  because  of  the  Justice  Department’s  unique  role  under  Executive  Order   13166.  The  Department’s  guidance  informed  the  Title  VI  language  access  guidance  that  every  federal   agency  wrote,  and  most  simply  adopted  the  DOJ  guidance.  While  the  guidance  focuses  on  law   enforcement,  courts,  and  other  likely  DOJ  recipients,  it  is  worth  understanding  well  because  its   principles  –  interpreter  competence  factors,  “vital”  documents,  “safe  harbor”  translation,  the  four-­‐ factor  test  and  much  more  -­‐  have  been  adopted  by  most  or  all  other  federal  agencies.  These  same   agencies  also  submit  their  Title  VI  LEP  compliance  plans,  as  well  as  their  guidance  for  recipients,  to  the   DOJ  for  the  agency’s  consideration.      

                                                                                                                      177

Id.  at  41466.    Id.   179  Id.   180  Who  will  enforce  the  LEP  rules?,  Frequently  Asked  Questions,  www.lep.gov.   178

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Medical and Legal Language Access in Ohio (2014)  
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