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Maricopa County judicial officials seek interpreter and translator interns

Maricopa County judicial officials are recruiting aspiring interpreters and translators for paid summer internships at the Superior Court complex in downtown Phoenix.

Help from those able to convert spoken language is needed in roughly 30,000 court hearings a year.   

Spanish interpreters are at nearly three quarters of those hearings. Many of the rest rely on experts in American Sign Language, Arabic, Vietnamese, Swahili, Cantonese and Mandarin.

“In order to be able to do this job, you have to be thinking on your toes. You have to be very flexible with your linguistic abilities in both languages,” said Marcela Abner, court interpreter supervisor and staff developer.

Abner said the courts must guarantee that non-English speakers hear everything in the same tone as everyone else in the courtroom, and the summer internship program is a chance for recent or soon-to-be college graduates to be mentored by professionals who meet that standard.

“The first intern that ever participated in the program later became employed with the court and she is celebrating her 31st anniversary with us,” she said.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.