The state of Indiana provides court services to a wide range of people, including those who speak limited or no English and those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Limited English proficiency (LEP) means the inability to adequately understand or communicate effectively in English. According to the latest census data, there are over 198,000 Hoosiers who are LEP. These LEP individuals most likely will request a court interpreter in their native language to provide interpreting services during court proceedings. The Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Certification Program was established in 2002 in response to the growing need for interpretation services for LEP individuals within the court system. Since that time, the program has been tasked with improving and growing the number of court interpreters used in courts throughout Indiana. Currently, Indiana has over 100 certified interpreters in Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic, and Polish. The Indiana Supreme Court also has provided every court in Indiana with a telephone interpretation service called Language Line that can interpret in over 140 different languages. Individuals who are interested in becoming a certified court interpreter must complete a rigorous process to receive certification from the Court. Those requirements are outlined here. Indiana is committed to having an open and accessible state court system in which it ensures meaningful access to courts. Availability of competent interpreters is a fundamental factor in providing access to justice for all.
The Indiana Office of Court Services (IOCS) will also develop policies and implement training for judges, attorneys, and court managers. This will create an environment where everyone involved knows the role and function of an interpreter and the proper manner to conduct interpreted proceedings in the courtroom.
The Indiana Supreme Court appointed a task force which will manage all Supreme Court related programs and projects designed to improve access for LEP individuals to our court system. This task force will present findings and recommendations to the Court on the best practices and methods to ensure meaningful language access within Indiana's judicial system.