Your tax dollars:
A Maryland judge recently dismissed a rape case against an asylee* from Liberia due to lack of a translator.
The immigrant from Liberia was charged with sexual abuse of a 7 year old girl but the case languished when an interpreter supposedly could not be found who spoke Vai, a tribal language of West Africa. The Post reported that its reporters quickly found several local translators of the language.
I’m mentioning this not because of the horrible crime committed and that no justice will be sought, but to highlight a growing problem for local communities. Federal law requires that translators be provided by local jurisdictions for all sorts of needs of asylees and refugees. Translators of obscure languages can cost $200 an hour and up.
Knight [court clerk] said the county spent nearly $1 million on interpreters last year, 10 times the amount it spent in 2000. “It’s a constant struggle and it is extremely expensive,” she said.
At a recent meeting of agencies involved in refugee resettlement in Hagerstown, MD a $1500 Health Dept. bill was mentioned for translating Tuberculosis documents in anticipation of the arrival of Burmese (Karen) refugees. Drug resistant TB is an increasing problem in the US as immigrant numbers rise. The Virginia Council of Churches office in Hagerstown reports that they are working with seven differant languages at this time.
* For the definitions of refugee and aslyee go here: