Where translators and interpreters talk Texan

Austin, Texas
Know the truth... Anti-freedom lobbyists caught by surprise
Austin, Texas, Feb 8, 2008 At a meeting of the Texas Department of Regulation and Licensing counsel for the department made it absolutely clear the law does NOT, repeat, NOT require all interpreters working in Texas state, municipal and county courts to pay fees and be licensed.
Loophole It turns out the language in Sec. 5007.002 allows interpreters other than licensed court interpreters the right to work unless a motion for the appointment of a licensed court interpreter is made by a party or witness. This means that certified immigration court interpreters and federally certified court interpreters (99 & 44/100% Spanish) need not pay bribes and waste time and money in diploma mill courses.
Immigration interpreters Those of us who are certified and tested by private enterprise and working with regular evaluations in Federal immigration courts may now accept assignments in Texas courts without fear. Conference interpreters having their own certifications may also benefit. It's a start toward Texas becoming an actual right-to-work state.
Sputtering Present were several of the persons who secretly lobbied for the law, some of whom have even infiltrated the Advisory Board as token certified court interpreters now bound by the terms of the Texas Open Meetings Act to not engage in rolling quorums. For years they've been telling anyone who would listen that interpreters who enter the courts of Texas had to abandon all self-respect at the door, pay bribes and--unless "grandfathered" forever--take tests which the grandfathered few evade. Their story has turned out to be just as false as the apocryphal stories, curbside observations and hearsay these same lobbyists used to gull politicians into violating people's rights.
Monopolists The mentality is such that, while themselves evading all testing, those token interpreter members and their lobbyist allies heaped scorn on Federal court interpreter certification credentials, Bachelor's and Master's degrees in languages, and any other test with a higher-than-zero pass rate.
Wrong from the outset The law, a textbook example of the type of "conspiracy against the public" warned against by Adam Smith in 1775, never lived up to its original intent. The lobbyists for it were largely schoolmarms working part-time as court interpreters to earn some extra income. They resented the fact that the clerks at the courts are generally competent and experienced, and therefore preferred by the judges. Conference interpreters, in the panic which followed the September 11 attacks and practically banned all foreigners from entering the country, also agreed to do court interpreting for lack of better options. As soon as the exclusionary law was passed, those court clerks--who have been interpreting for years, often better than the lobbyists--got their fees paid and did not have to take the tests either. They were "grandfathered" along with the others and largely unaffected. The only effect was to drive the bewildered into diploma mills for quickie courses that would give them useless tickets to pay for tests and still not compete with grandpas and working clerks. Once the regulations under the law had been changed several times, it was clear to anyone the thing was not working. All members of lobbying front organizations like TAJIT will now understand how cynically they've been misled and become more aware of the dishonesty and wishful thinking in the part of their condescending mentors.
West mall, U.T. Austin You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
Future coercive lobbies The once-smug lobbyists are determined to obtain a totalitarian interpretation of their pet legislation, and seek even more meddlesome language for regulation of other classes of interpreters, such as the community interpreters assisting social workers. Their claims that this will free interpreters from exploitation by large corporations are, of course lies, as has been the case for court interpreters. When court interpreting was uncoerced, many of us did it from time to time in pretty much the same spirit as when we turn up for jury duty. The pay is admittedly bad but it spares us the insult of licensing and continuing extortion requirements. We need to decide whether to go for outright repeal or for adding extras--such as forcing license renewal applicants to actually take tests, submit to urinalysis and as many added layers of humiliation as are needed to make the law even more unviable than it is now and thereby secure its repeal further down the line.
Eternal vigilance The inability to honestly compete is not cured overnight, and it is certainly not corrected by quickie courses from subsidized diploma mills. Those lobbyists will be back to again serve the more gullible among us up to the corporations and diploma mills, while they themselves bask in immunity from testing. As long as the law stands, the lobbyists I personally observed will redouble their efforts to make it worse. At least now that the mask has slipped, it may be harder to convince politicians to again betray the trust of earnest youths. --JHP
Stay tuned We just put up a Google group shortly to warn interpreters of any new unannounced lobbies or conspiracies against our freedom. Join us.
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