U.S. Courts Struggle to Provide Court-Certified Interpreters Due to Cost & Availability–Stratus Video Increases Court Access and Profits With Economical VRI Interpreting
As the country's Limited English Proficient (LEP) population grows, the ability of U.S. court systems to supply qualified interpreters has become increasingly difficult and more expensive than many jurisdictions can handle--a fact which some say has caused less-than-qualified interpreters to be used in court proceedings and has subsequently led to overturned convictions due to claims of poor language services. But Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) company Stratus Video Interpreting offers a solution: VRI interpreting connects courts with a cloud-based network of certified spoken language interpreters with the ability to translate over 175 different spoken and sign languages, providing court systems nationwide with the right technology to improve equal access to language services while also turning an inherent cost center into a profit center.
The U.S. LEP population has increased by 81 percent since 1990, from nearly 14 million to about 25 million in 2011--and of the 25.3 million LEP individuals in
Although criminal cases typically demand that the court provide an interpreter, some counties generally don't provide them for cases such as arraignments, simple pleas and family court issues--cases which Belanger says comprise the vast majority of proceedings involving LEP persons. But expanding interpreting services would also mean expanding budgets for interpreters, which many small courts cannot afford, per Belanger: "In order to use a court-certified interpreter, many smaller courts would need to bring an interpreter from some distance away and pay mileage, in addition to the interpreter's hourly rate," said Belanger. "The cost of a sign language proceeding in a rural
Belanger states that VRI interpreting not only cuts interpreters' travel costs, but also increases access to language services and ensures that every citizen, regardless of the language they speak, has equal access to justice. Belanger cites a report from a court system as evidence of VRI's effectiveness:
?One Florida court reported that prior to introducing VRI, their staff interpreters spent approximately 20 percent of their time each day interpreting; the rest was spent traveling to and from courtrooms, jails and other venues and waiting for proceedings to begin. Once the court adopted video interpreting, their staff interpreter efficiency jumped to over 60 percent, and travel costs and delays were eliminated.
In addition to the cost benefits, Belanger says that courts which adopt VRI interpreting will begin turning a profit by allowing other courts access to the technology and certified interpreters.
"VRI expands the range of court-certified interpreters so they can serve a far larger geographic area, meaning that a court's pool of certified interpreters can serve the entire state if VRI is used," said Belanger.
Stratus' interpreting service is an application that can be loaded onto any PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet; the technology can even be applied to
Stratus specializes in the medical field and court interpreting, but the company's technology is applicable to every industry. Stratus employs experienced, highly-qualified, certified interpreters who can either be used to supplement an existing interpreting infrastructure or to replace live and over-the-phone interpreters altogether with their VRI system.
In its effort to assist hospitals in maintaining compliance while also reducing malpractice suits due to interpreting errors, Stratus upholds the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for protecting sensitive patient data by ensuring that all essential security measures are in place.
For more information about Stratus and its services, visit http://www.stratusvideo.com.
About Stratus Video Interpreting:
Stratus Video Interpreting provides on-demand interpreter services by using technology to connect clients with interpreters in over 175 spoken and signed languages in less than 30 seconds. Stratus' cloud-based video solution delivers an array of unique features to virtually any Internet-enabled PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. Stratus clients use the technology to connect with their own staff interpreters, as well as with Stratus interpreters, who have years of healthcare and courtroom experience and hold multiple certifications. With Stratus, state-of-the-art video remote interpreting is made available with virtually no capital investment. Stratus averages 65,000 video calls a day, up from 40,000 in mid-2013. Stratus Video is the sister company of The Z® (
1.Whatley, Monica, and Jeanne Batalova. "Limited English Proficient Population of
2.Palta, Rina. "Lack of Interpreters among the Barriers to Justice in
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