Court Interpreter Program receives honor
Public Relations - Published: October 1, 2008

courtinterpreter award2008

From left, Peggy O'Neill, Legal Education Institute special projects coordinator; Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge Ida Chen; Law Dean Linda L. Ammons; Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille; Widener Assistant Dean Eileen Grena, who directs the Legal Education Institute.

An important Pennsylvania legal commission has recognized Widener University’s Legal Education Institute for the work it has accomplished in launching a new Court Interpreter Program.

The Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness recognized the school at a recent meeting in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille presented Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons with an engraved gavel and base as he complimented the school on its ambitious new program.

Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judge Ida Chen, who chairs the Interbranch Commission’s Interpreter Services Committee, recommended the school for the award.

“Widener has invested time, effort and resources to make this program possible,” said Ammons, who oversees the Legal Education Institute, which administers the Court Interpreter Program. “It is gratifying to be recognized in this way for work we view as a much-needed public service and it is our hope that this program will further the principle of equal access to justice. We shall display this award with true Widener Pride.”

Ammons received the award Sept. 11. She was accompanied by Assistant Dean Eileen Grena, who directs the Legal Education Institute, and Peggy O’Neill, the institute’s special projects coordinator.

Located on Widener’s Delaware campus, the Court Interpreter Program is focusing on Spanish-English interpretation. Classes began Sept. 27 and will be held one Saturday a month over an eight-month period. The program is designed to enhance the skills tested in state-administered court interpreter exams. States are increasingly requiring that court interpreters be certified through their exams before they are allowed to work in courtrooms.

The curriculum consists of an introduction to court terminology, courtroom protocol, ethics, court structures and simultaneous and consecutive legal interpretation, as well as sight translation, which are all part of state-administered certification exams. The program includes a language laboratory system that allows students to practice vocal interpretation. Students who attend the eight-month program will receive a certificate of completion for attendance.