Maricopa County Superior Court Wins NACo Award for “Remote Interpreter Program”
PHOENIX (July 19, 2011) — The National Association of Counties (NACo) has recognized Maricopa County Superior Court with its 2011 NACo Achievement Award. The award is in recognition of the Court’s “Remote Interpreter Program,” which utilizes audio and visual technologies to enable language interpreters to carry out their courtroom responsibilities on a virtual basis.
Law requires courts to provide language interpreters for defendants who do not fully comprehend English.
First implemented in 2009, Maricopa County’s “Remote Interpreter Program” enables interpreters to be instantaneously available to provide full interpretive services at proceedings anywhere within the Maricopa County Superior Court system – a system that covers 10,000 square miles.
Providing virtual interpretation requires equipping courtrooms with cameras, microphones, speakers and headsets (often using existing equipment). The equipment securely transmits the proceedings to the interpreter who has complete control over hearing and seeing everything that is going on in the courtroom and has the ability to enter and leave cases, regardless of location, with the push of a button.
While virtually in the courtroom, the interpreter provides interpretation to the defendant and in turn interprets the defendant’s comments back to the full court. Interpretation can also be provided for the privileged conversations between the defendant and the defendant’s attorney, who both wear headphones to speak and listen.
As a part of its “E-Courtroom” initiative (http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/E-Courtroom/Index.asp), the Superior Court is among the first courts in the country to implement virtual language interpretation. The technology being used in Maricopa County is the Virtual Court-Interpreter System (VCIS), a solution of Phoenix-based ExhibitOne Corporation.
The NACo Achievement Award was first awarded in 1970 in recognition of innovative county government programs.