With 220 languages spoken in California, courts face an interpreter shortage

Just finding enough trained interpreters has proved daunting. The state’s courts handle as many as eight million cases a year.

News Story (California)

Maura Dolan
Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
September 5, 2017

Tags: Courts, Language Access

Organizations mentioned/involved: Los Angeles Center for Law & Justice (LACLJ), Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC)


California has long provided interpreters for criminal and juvenile cases. The law now says they must offer them also in civil courtrooms.

In the past, non-English-speaking litigants were on their own when they went to court to fight evictions, obtain restraining orders and resolve child custody disputes

Children sometimes interpreted for warring parents. One court employee recalled a woman seeking a domestic violence restraining order having to interpret for her alleged abuser.