Court Interpreting From Afar

I have recently stumbled upon a Washington Post Article about how the courts in West Virginia are providing interpretation services.

Instead of having the interpreter at the court they are now providing a remote broadcast from North Carolina. The interpreters will be available for all types of settings, such as hearings and trials. The reason this new method has been implemented is because West Virginia has been struggling with budget cuts.

Next week mock trials will be held to try out the new system.

I think that the most positive aspect of this new method is that no one at the courts will be left without an interpreter. There will always be an interpreter available, even if it is from afar.

Nonetheless, I believe that many court interpreters in West Virginia will be jobless, since the ones that will be providing interpretation services will be located in North Carolina.

What about the real-life presence of an interpreter in a court setting? As all interpreters know, it is of the utmost importance to be present to offer your services. As a lawyer or judge in the court setting, if someone’s liberty were at stake I would want the interpreter at the same location. I also believe no one will actually allow a live feed of a lawyer defending the accused from another state. But, of course, this doesn’t apply to the translation/interpretation field.

Any thoughts?