Subject to Interpretation

Sandro Tomasi on Advocacy [EP 40]

November 27, 2020 DE LA MORA Institute Season 2 Episode 40
Subject to Interpretation
Sandro Tomasi on Advocacy [EP 40]
Show Notes Transcript

'Subject To Interpretation' is a weekly podcast that deep dives into the topics that matter to interpreters.🎙 This week we speak with Sandro Tomasi the author of An English-Spanish Dictionary of Criminal Law and Procedure a contributing author of Diccionario Jurídico, Law Dictionary (Cabanellas de las Cuevas and Hoague), a consultant for Dahl’s Law Dictionary, Diccionario Jurídico Dahl (Henry Saint Dahl), and a practicing New York State court interpreter. Sandro has trained around 3,000 interpreters and translators in conferences for professional associations as well as in workshops for various state courts in the U.S., and has taught interpreter courses for the City University of New York’s continuing education programs at Hostos College and Queens College as well as an online legal terminology course for the New Mexico Center for Language Access. In this episode, Sandro goes deep into his most recent projects and his work as an accidental advocate for the profession. Hosted by Maria Ceballos-Wallis.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to subject to interpretation, a podcast, which takes us deep into the topics that matter to professional interpreters. I'm your host, Maria. Sowas welcome. I hope to cover topics from theory to practice. In other words, there's the ideal of how things should be, or be done. And the reality of how things actually fit function in the real world. Our guests are people who have tried successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully to bridge that gap in interpreting and translating this program is recorded via zoom in both video and audio format. Today, we're going to talk about stepping out of our comfort zones into advocacy and perhaps even publish as interpreters. We train, we study and we interpret, but is that enough to sustain us as professionals? We're going to talk to Sandra Tamasi . He's an interpreter, an advocate, a writer and musician. He's also author of Tai's law dictionary. Sandra is the chair of the Nat advocates C committee. Welcome Sandra.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, Maria. And thank you to the LAORA interpretation.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's a pleasure to have you here. Let's get right in because you've had a really interesting , um , background , uh , professional and personal background. You have been a New York state staff interpreter since thousand and seven and a freelance interpreter for much longer than that. You've also been involved with various advocacy projects, including a particularly important one, and it's a mouthful, but it's a report supporting the reclassification and relocation of the court. Interpreter job title. Tell us, tell us about the study and the conclusion of it.

Speaker 2:

Well , um, the report basically has two premises by comparison. Uh, one is the comparison between state interpreter and federal interpreter, as far as what the compensation is. And this idea actually did not come from me. It came from CFI, the California Federation of interpreters, where they found that , uh , by comparisons between state and federal titles, whether it was court attorney court, reporter court officer, they were all getting about the same neighborhood salary range, except for the court. I turor , who's making about half of what their federal counterpart was making. So we applied this to New York and we also found that the , uh , top salary , uh , for federal court interpreter is almost double than what it is for the state court interpreter. Whereas many other titles they're about in the , in the , in the NA in , in the ballpark , the second premise was to do a comparison between court interpreters and court reporters. So what do you get when you cross an interpreter with a translator, a court reporter? Yes, you it's where you hear oral arguments and those are being translated simultaneously into written form it's so you're getting an oral into written. So it's the court reporter is really a cross between an interpreter and transla and many of their same duties, a apply to us. They translate simultaneously. We do too. Uh, they convert their language from English into stenography. We convert it from English into another language. Uh, they need to know legal terminology. They need to know , uh , technical terminology, which helps them recognize these in order to be able to capture them into stenotype. Uh, they need to be able to learn different accents and different , uh , regionalisms even from here in the United States. And for, you can imagine with the French, Arabic and Spanish interpreters, those regionalisms can just multiply by the dozen. So by doing that comparison and we believe it's probably the first report of its kind that really does an in depth , empirical comparison between interpreter and reporter. We are able to demonstrate that yes, the two jobs are similar, but the job of the interpreter is much more difficult to achieve and to perform because while court reporters are basing their work on a , um, Fantic based translation interpreters are basing their work on a cultural based translation. And when we're involving culture and language, this is not only science, but it's, it's art. It's, it's the difference between , uh , how one word could be said, but really it could have three or four different meanings. And while that same word in phonetic language gets typed as one phonetic input with cultural based languages, it could be different , uh , up to four or five different words . And , and those words also have their own meaning in the culture where they're double Tundras and the interpreter has to make sure that they're not giving the double Tandra that's not wanted to be given. So that that's what makes our job so much more difficult. So the , the report goes delves into that. And it also shows that , um, how , uh , court reporters are, are paid much more at the state level than they are at the federal level. So if I can share a chart with you , um, we were able to show that the federal court interpreters are making 49% more than the federal court reporters in salary. This is the maximum salary, whereas in New York state, the formula is the other way around. Interpreters are making 35% less than their court reporters , uh, and , and state levels . So up above, I can show you another chart. These are the different titles. We can see the state and federal judges make about the same court reporters, court clerk, court officers, all, all at the state level, making a little bit more than what their federal counterparts are making, whereas the interpreters making 45% less than their federal counterpart.

Speaker 1:

So was this study received?

Speaker 2:

Uh , well, it comes down to the bottom line. What we're addressing here is for a 300 staff interpreters across New York state to adjust their salaries, to meet these numbers. Would I, I mean this and is a very basic calculation that I've done on my part. So I don't mean it to be authoritative in any measure, but I calculate it's about 20 million annually that will , we have to throw to be thrown in there. So when you wanna change the system for 20 million a year, it's not gonna be received. Um, you know, people are gonna try to push back against that. But what we're saying is that although court interpreting is a relatively, still a relatively new profession, it's grown to the point where we're starting to recognize that not anybody can pass the court interpreter exam. And here's another, another chart that exemplifies this here. We see the New York state bar exam, 68% passing rate, the New York state court reporter exam, 55% pass rate. And the interpreter, New York state , uh , court interpreter exam is 10% pass rate . So that means that 90% of the people who took the court interpreter exam in New York state failed. This means that the court interpreter exam today as is with a cut , with a fail rate at 90 per 90% is more difficult than the bar exam.

Speaker 1:

That is true.

Speaker 2:

And if we also look to imperatively federal courts are paying their law clerks, the ones who write the decisions for the judges and in legal research and all that, they're the same pay grades as the federal court interpreters. So the federal courts are valuing court interpreters as high as law clerks. So the question is who's got the formula, right? Is it the federal court that got the pay rate formula, right? Or is it the state court formula? Now we do know that from the equal employment opportunity commission that they've categorized or qualified the job of interpreter and translator as a professional job, like judges, lawyers, and doctors, and that the court reporter job has been qualified as administrative support worker. So the E E O C uh, qualified or classifications of jobs would lend credence to the federal court , uh , valuation of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of interpreters.

Speaker 1:

So what , what is there , what is there to do then in order to bring , um, those two together close that gap?

Speaker 2:

Well, for first is , is recognizing, you know, to what degree, our skills , uh , you know, and , and here's, here's a skill if , uh , so it currently New York state, they require interpreters to have zero education past high school. So all you need is high school diploma or the equivalent. They require interpreters to have zero exp and not even the job description. Do they put that you have to pass the exam is they put that you have to take an exam, but it doesn't say anything about passing it. So let's look at the judge. The judge has to have , uh , has to pass the bar exam, which means that that's seven years of higher education studies. The judge has to have 10 years of experiences practicing attorney and has to have had past the , the bar exam. So you get the seven, 10, and the one you see seven , five, and one for court attorney, which is a law clerk, one , three , and one for the court reporter and 0, 0, 0 for court interpreter. Now we've done surveys. And in our surveys, we are , uh , able to demonstrate where do I get that number 12 for education? 12 years of education is based on the surveys. We were able to demonstrate that the court interpreters that are staff in New York state, most of 'em have a bachelor's degree or higher. So that means out of the 10% that passed the exam, most of those people really have a college education. Um, eight out of the 12 years are being accredit to second language acquisition. And I think this is a big one. And I think this is , this is where interpreter and translation industries have to look at the valuation of our skills. According to the second language, the SLA experts, it takes at least eight years of not language classes, but language immersion. This means classes and language in , uh , uh , in science, in math, in art, in all in that language in order to be able to learn language at the level of a native speaker. And if it takes , uh , knowing that second language to the level of a native speaker and mind you court interpreters, community interpreters, medical interpreters, we all work . We're working by direction , uh , by directional. It's not like the Ike interpreters that are in booth, and they're usually working into one direction, right? We're working bidirectional . So it's, it's really, it's essential that community interpreters know both languages to the level of a native. So by adding that eight year requisite that it takes to learn a language. And lot of people think that, oh, you just know a language. No , no. Well, wait a minute, if you learned it in your home country, or if you learned it in this country as a heritage speaker, and you were able to pass the court interpreter exam, that means, you know, the language up to a level that's qualified you to interpret in the courts to , to be able to do , uh , work as an interpreter. So we have the eight as second language acquisition the four years as bachelor's degree. And that's the 12. Then the 10 , we found that there was on average 10 years of experience for the interpreters at the time of hiring. And the one is for , uh, the passing of the exam. So when you look at 12, 10, and one, and compared to the judges seven, 10, and one, the court interpreter might be the smartest person inside a courtroom.

Speaker 1:

<laugh> , I've always thought that sometimes. So, so, but we're, so you add 10 and 12 and one. So are we, we're talking that interpreters have about 21 years experience by the time they get in?

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, it it's , um, I'm not counting the , the exam as a year, but the other , but the other years that the , the , the 12 and the 10 , uh , that would be 22 years , um, there's somehow, or some way or another, these these years, cuz uh , knowing another language is not a requirement to get a high school degree or high school diploma, nor is it a requirement to get a college degree. So some way or another interpreters have to find a way to learn that second language to a profession level. So be that as it may, you have to give credit. And what I like about the numbers is now you're starting to quantify the skill and the knowledge the interpreters have to have in order to perform that job. And that skill and knowledge is by no means easy. And this is proven time. And again, when we see that 90% of the interpreter candidates are failing the test, this is a very difficult job.

Speaker 1:

So what , um, what can we do about, well, first of all, we , what can we do about getting candidates to pass the test , um, at higher levels? And then , um, what can we do to recruit better candidates?

Speaker 2:

Well, one thing right off the bat is if the federal courts are off offering almost $160,000 a year at top salary and New York state court is offering almost $85,000 top salary, where are the candidates gonna flock to

Speaker 1:

Federal court?

Speaker 2:

Right. And I will be willing to bet dollars to donuts that there's a lot of candidates that are not even showing up to take the exam when they heard that top salary is 85 grand. So right now , I mean, should we tar take that lesson from federal court and start valuing interpreters as law clerks and giving that top . So, and that's why I'm saying it . It's not gonna be easy. It's a 20 million a year budget increase at least here in New York state. But if you do that increase and you're willing to put the time and the effort, just like the courts were willing to put the time and effort for law clerks, time and effort for court reporters and court reporters, by the way, are paid by the page for their transcripts. This is a skill that court interpreters are required to , uh, translate documents. We're not paid paid page for the, the translation of documents. So here's a skill that it , it court reporters are being valued for, but interpreters, oh no. Well that fits under your job. No, no, no, no. We all in the interpreter and translator industries, we all know very well just because you're a good interpreter. Doesn't mean you're a good translator and vice versa. They're two different skill sets .

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. So have you had any interest from interpreters in other states? Have they reached out to you for advice on similar matters?

Speaker 2:

Um, a little bit, not that much. Uh , I, I think that this is all so new. Um, no one really thought that interpreters should be paid more than court reporters. You know, I mean really because court reporters are, have long been , um , so looked up to so respected. It's such a respected profession and they have, you know, judges wanna make sure that their court reporters are fine. How many times have I heard court interpreters that are doing double the talking in a courtroom because they have to interpret everything. And all of a sudden a bailiff for a court officer comes up to the court report and says, oh, would you like some water during the middle of a trial? And then the interpreters sitting there and they're like, well , what about me? Interpreters get no respect. So when you're presenting data that this report has done, that's so new that really takes sync second language acquisition and, and quantifies it as a knowledge or, and skill for interpreters that quantifies the, you know, through the, how much experience it's gonna take a while , you know, it's , it might take five, 10, another 50 years. Uh, so the , the good news is that it's cutting edge data. And by the way, I really have to mention this. I didn't write the report by myself. Um, when I set out to do this, I was like, let me get some people that really know about this. Um, cuz I had some ideas, but so I was , was able to enlist some of the , really the , the top experts in the country. One of is Robert Jo Lee , who was in , in charge of court interpreter services for the state of New Jersey who had been involved with the consortium of, of states early on with the national center for state courts. Um, to me, Robert Jo Lee is like the godfather of court interpreter services in this country. Absolutely . I mean, he's phenomenal on the adminis having worked with the administration for so many years on the labor part of it, you have Mary Lu , Aaron Guin who , uh , had worked for years with the California Federation of interpreters, who is a , uh , association slash union and had , uh , been appointed to , um , serve on , uh , Senate committees on judicial committees and had , uh , been in negotiating committees. So for many years, Mary Lou has done some tremendous workout in California. And then I had the fortune to also have Melin Cal Del Waldron who , uh, was up until recently on the board of interpreters United, which is a , a medical interpreter union in Washington state. But <inaudible> is also certified court interpreter . So with their input , uh , we , it took us seven months to, to write this report and uh, I , I , we can maybe share the link , uh , later on for your viewers and listeners. Uh ,

Speaker 1:

We'll also include it on our blog

Speaker 2:

For you

Speaker 1:

For subject to interpretation.

Speaker 2:

Great. Right .

Speaker 1:

So going forward with the lessons that have been learned or the data that has been acquired , um, how do you think interpreters in other states , um , should proceed if they're interested and perhaps finding out whether their state is providing equitable pay or whether or whether they , um, they , they even want to , um, a address, some of the other inequities that might be in the profession.

Speaker 2:

So as far as pay , uh, I, I would say do a state to federal comparison in your , for your state and for the federal, you would have to look at the , uh , federal territories because federal pay fluctuates depending on which territory it's in. Some, some are more expensive than, than others. And then also if there's court reporters that work in, in your courts do also , uh , salary comparison to between interpreters and reporters.

Speaker 1:

Okay . As

Speaker 2:

Far as for other things , um , that's what, something that I'm still looking for. Um, we recently had a , um, a special investigator , uh , appointed to investigate discrimination here in New York state. So we sent some, some letters , uh, to the special investigator and, and that those got included in the report . So , um, you know, with, with these special investigations and, and reports , um, sometimes things looked like they're moving in the right direction, but it it's, it's really, it , you really have to be at , uh , you , you have to, it's not just writing a letter, you know, I mean, listen, if, if you don't wanna do anything else, but write a letter, go ahead, write the letter. Uh, cuz that will be another, another little brick onto the building of, of, of what we're building. What , what in professional interpreters are building in this country, what they've built before us. I mean, look at the interpreters back in the seventies and the eighties and the nineties, what they had to go through, you know, before you had any guidance from New Jersey or from , uh , fundamentals of court interpretation into , or the bilingual courtroom to really now we have some, some data, we have some books we have , uh , a lot to build from, but we still have to build more and interpreters can build a , a little bit more in their own states. They can write a letter, they can use this report to, to pattern it off some, you know, it , it , even though this reports 50 pages, their report can be two pages, you know , uh , but start letting know letting administration officials that interpreters are of a very high skillset and that they should be paid as a , uh , a very high skillset and should be looked at , uh , and respected that way.

Speaker 1:

I wanna commend you for not just beginning the project on your own, but for really reaching out to other professionals that can really provide the context of what you were trying to do. So by reaching out to other sectors , um , I think the , the , the report really has, is a lot more credibility and it's, and it's really based on, on substantial information rather than the idea that well, interpreters just wanna get paid more. Well, really what interpreters would like to do is they'd like to be a recognized for the skills and for the expertise that they, to , to their jobs. And if they're not being recognized and other sectors are being recognized more than then, then of course, that's, that's not really equitable.

Speaker 2:

Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah . So I want to , um, I , I , I , I wanna move out to another topic with you because I, I really think that , um , that you have been able to accomplish lots of different things in your, in your interpreting profession, not just as a interpreter in staff or maybe freelance, but you've really gone beyond that. You've , um, worked on this study and you are obviously very active in advocacy for the profession, but you've also expanded for at least for Spanish interpreters. You've really been able to help them expand the way they look at terminology, the way they assess the terminology that they are using for fun equivalence language equivalence, when, when interpreting in legal courts. And of course you are the author of Domas law dictionary. Uh, and I want you to talk to me a little bit about that , cuz maybe it's just me , but you know, I have a hard time keeping track of my own simple glossies. Sometimes it just seems like a conglomeration of word afterward , afterward , but you did so much more and it's really become a staple and a resource in many interpreters that , um, in their library , uh , that I, that I know of. So talk to me, you about this project.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's pretty neat . I mean , um, the, the dictionary is actually being used in some interpreter courses as , as part of their workbook, you know, to , to use and which is great. Um, cuz that way interpreters get to learn the , the right stuff right from the beginning. Um, my, my pro and I envisioned this early on while I was actually writing the dictionary was that I was going against bilingual legal Lexi dogma. I was going against what I got out . Oh , uh , cabana , you know, all , all the great legal, bilingual legal confers were saying, you know, and I'm like, well, who's gonna believe me. You know, I'm putting this in a book, but they're gonna call me crazy. And , and that's when I started thinking to myself, okay, let me put a excerpts of statutes of the Spanish speaking countries so they can see the criminal procedure code, the penal code, how those words are actually being used. And that it's not just, I'm not making up these translations. The , these are actually based on what those culture decided to name these legal institutions. So it turned out great because what better than not only going be beyond a glossary where you have a term and it's translation or two beyond a dictionary where you have a little bit of a definition, but to see comparative laws and, and be able to see , uh , uh , see that the target language laws and, and the interpreters have experience here in the us . So I , I didn't bother putting the English part cuz each state will be different. So they could all kind of match that up. But to see those words in context. So once you know what the term is now you see it in context and this , this context gives students professionals a much deeper meaning to the word, a much deeper understanding to the word. And hopefully in turn, they'll be able to incorporate it in, in their own , uh , professional lives.

Speaker 1:

So how long did it take you to from start to finish, to write, edit, compile this project?

Speaker 2:

So the, the first addition took me about five years. Okay . Um, you know, my spare time basically, and by, you know, by the time I had published, I had , um, edited all on my own. It was completely done on my own. And you know, there's some lot of grammatical mistakes and typos in there even after 50 cover to cover proof of reading proofreadings of , of that. Uh , 50. Yeah. I , I read it covered a cover 50 times. Um,

Speaker 1:

Hopefully not in the same day.

Speaker 2:

No, definitely not . Uh, and then with the second edition, I , um, was able to get a team of, of editors. Um , excellent. I had , uh , Lucia Colomb who was , is an ATA certified translator and a lawyer in Uruguay. I had Cady Kaufman who is a federal court interpreter and a lawyer in , in Chile , uh, had , uh , Victor J tech who was a , uh , former , uh , magistrate judge in Argentina and is a Minnesota certified interpreter. And then , uh , who law professor , uh , from Mexico and basically they were the ones that, that would , uh , point me in, in one direction or another. And , uh, it , uh , it , it was interesting. It was actually very enriching. Um, they would , um , point so things out and then I would shoot back and I said, no, but this , and then they would say no, but that , uh, and in some cases I was proven wrong and in some cases they were proven wrong, but for it , it was a , a , a very enriching project and, and , and what was on what made it onto the second edition was a much more accurate and , uh , uh , more accurate work and , and also en enlarged. Um, so , um, so yeah, it was , it was, it was really a very nice project.

Speaker 1:

So, you know, in addition to, for example, having the, a dictionary among other dictionaries, how, how do you think, what , what can you share with listen or in terms of tips or just some of what you learned about researching terminology that could be practical for interpreters to use on a daily basis when they're going about their work?

Speaker 2:

So in the beginning I started like everybody else, I would go into the , uh, Simon Schusters or the , uh , Oxford bilingual dictionaries and look up a term. And then I started getting a , you know, I started working for , uh, in the legal , uh , arena know, and then I got myself a bilingual law dictionary. So, you know, I was stepping up my ,

Speaker 1:

I see that

Speaker 2:

<laugh> and , uh, I , uh, somebody gave me a , um, uh , a copy of , uh , Manu sod's , uh , monolingual law dictionary Spanish. Oh, okay . And that was like my first <affirmative> monolingual work. And, and so that's when I started reading that. And I , I , so what I would do is I'd take from the bilingual law dictionary, the three or four terms that were suggested there and see how they measured up in Spanish and look at those definitions. And that's when I started saying, well, wait a minute. And pan it doesn't say the is it's, it's something else. So you know who who's right. The , the BI obviously the monolingual source has much more credibility. And so that kind of started growing, you know, I have about 50 English, Spanish law dictionaries. I have about 25 Spanish monolingual. Ary is about 25 English monolinguals. I have two law encyclopedias in Spanish. I have basically over, over easily over a hundred works , uh, of monolingual English or Spanish and bilingual English Spanish works. And then I have every criminal procedure in every national criminal procedure code and every national penal code of all 20 Spanish speaking countries.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So we, so a , an interpreter for, let's say another language French or German would then we , obviously we have many Spanish speaking countries and perhaps, you know, less speakers of other less countries that speak other languages with legal systems, but nevertheless, a con a language like French might have , um , quite a number. So how would you suggest that they go about researching their terminology?

Speaker 2:

So the first thing that , you know , uh , try to get whatever bilingual art should there is in your combination, but as far as monolinguals, try to find out, which is the blacks law dictionary in your language, which is the authoritative monolingual law dictionary of a particular country. Uh , once you find that out then also , um , and, and that'll cost some money , um , but what's free. Most of the time is you can go and get the codes. So whether you work in , uh , family law, civil law, criminal law, you can get these codes online and therefore free. So, and the codes are really that that's even better than the monolingual law dictionaries. I mean, that's, that's, those are the actual legal terms that are, that are used in, in these countries. So , um , yeah, you , uh , if I were to suggest reading anything, pick up a code and, and, and don't feel like it's too much for you , um, pick a it up, pick it up on page 53, you know, you don't have to do it from beginning to end or, or look up a term, you know, you can do a control find and look up a term, whatever you're looking for. And, and so really the , the codes , uh , if you can get actual laws and , uh , that would be the best <affirmative> .

Speaker 1:

So this approach will essentially work for any language. It just requires a little bit of work and elbow grease , perhaps.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

So , um, Sandra, you are also a contributor to several prominent dictionaries, blacks, law dictionary, KA dos . How did this happen? Was this before or after you wrote Domas law dictionary?

Speaker 2:

Um, it was so the bilingual law dictionaries were before mm-hmm <affirmative> , uh , with doll and, and , uh, gales , um, and blacks was after. Okay. Uh , yeah, so it , it was kind of , I guess, looking at it, that was a natural evolution in that I basically, I saw mistakes in the bilingual, a dictionaries, and I said, Hey, I see mistakes. Do , do you want to know what they are? And so, you know, gal and yeah, let me know. Okay. Um,

Speaker 1:

So it was well received . I mean, one wouldn't think that, you know, publishers of a D missionary , you know, would be so open to correcting themselves

Speaker 2:

Well, I've offered my services to other authors who have shut the door on me. Yeah. So that that's happened, but Hey , you know, if they're willing to live with mistakes and , and continue, but , you know, that's their choice. Uh , um , and then when , you know, once I had written mine, because I was always using blacks law dictionary, and I started finding mistakes on blacks law dictionary. Oh . I was like, well, wait a minute. That's not right. And so then that's when I , I , I , uh , contacted , uh , Brian Garner and , uh , he said, yeah, yeah , shoot me over some stuff. And, and , um, so that , that's, that's basically how that happened.

Speaker 1:

So as an interpreter, what drives you to not just go to court every morning, interpret come home? What drives you to work on advocacy projects, work on a dictionary, improve, help, improve the information that's available to other interpreters?

Speaker 2:

You know, I think I may have answered that question. Like , uh , two days ago I was walking and, and I'm , I'm an older brother and, you know, older, the older brothers tend to be like the , the trail blazers. And sometimes we're the ones that pay the price. You know, we , we get bit by the alligator, we'll , you know, blazing through the trails . And then the younger brothers are saying , Hey, the older brother just got bit by the alligator. Don't go that way. You , so, so there's some of that. So as , as far as being an older brother, I , I feel like I've been bitten enough by a lot of bilingual law dictionaries in the past where there's wrong answers. And I always felt like , uh , uh , like writing something saying, Hey, you know, I've gone this way. It's bad. Check this out. This is a much better road for you to take. And I think that's all , you know, that's certainly true with the dictionary. And, and , uh , that's what I'm seeing with, with the, the , the , the compensation and knowledge, skills, and abilities for interpreters that they really haven't been properly recognized to the level that they need to be recognized and say for federal court, federal court ha has gotten there, and maybe they might still have a few things to iron out, but they're way ahead than state court. So, right. I'm , I'm kind of like shedding a light on , on this trail so that others can, can , uh , uh , hopefully follow it

Speaker 1:

As an interpreter. Sandra, how has your professional practice been influenced perhaps even enriched by your work as an advocate and as a writer?

Speaker 2:

Well, as a writer , uh , like my dictionary that, that used to be, you know, the interpreter's notepad, you know, where we write down the terms that we don't know, and we have to look up that notepad grew into a dictionary, basically. Uh, so it, it today, I mean, I , I, and this is when I , when I do seminars, you know, all the professional interpreters. Oh. But they'll never understand that legal term. They'll never, and I'm , I'm thinking to myself. No, no, they will. Cuz the Sandra that used to interpret 20 years ago used to use the same terms that everybody else is using. But today I'm using much higher register legal, but the thing is, and , and a lot of interpreters will agree with this. When they hear lawyers explain things to their clients, there's some lawyers that explain things that they're all over the map and it makes no sense what , uh , whatsoever, but some lawyers are really good at explaining things with the actual legal terms. So if, if we can actually look at the codes, start understanding how that language is at that legal language to the point where it becomes second nature. When we go to interpret, it sounds a lot easier than what it actually is. Um, so , uh , as far as the advocacy, I'm fairly, I mean, I've been doing advocacy here and there for many years. I think we all have in many ways. Uh, but as far as this project, you know, kind of really started in 2018 when, when we set with this and, and I'd really like to abandon it. <laugh> um , uh , you know, it's a lot of work. Uh , and , and I , you know, it's not, I don't really feel like I , I don't, I , it's not my job to convince people, you know? Um, although it kind of, you know, I've , I've made it my job, you know, I'm , I'm , I'm saying, Hey, Hey, wait a minute. But look at this information, look at this.

Speaker 1:

So, so it would be nice if somebody else took over the torch or,

Speaker 2:

Well, it'd be nice if everybody start taking over the torch. Um, you know , but you know, who knows time will tell maybe I'm the, a guy that's wrong about this. Maybe I've got the numbers wrong. Maybe I've got all the figures wrong. Maybe, you know, Robert, Jo Lee didn't do his best work when he was advising me. Maybe Mary Lou didn't do her best work, maybe we're wrong. And, and that , that could be, maybe we didn't get everything a hundred percent. Right. Uh , I'd like to think that we got most of everything pretty, right. I mean, it took us seven months to write this. And I'd like to think that it can , uh, inspire others to at least look at the situation and see how undervalued interpreters are. And one day where I'd like to see where state court human services departments start adopting the model that the federal court human services department has done. And , uh , so really, I mean, time will tell, but , uh, I know that I'm not gonna knock myself , uh, dizzy or, or, you know, in the head or , you know, I'm not gonna do bad things to myself. If these things don't happen now, obviously I like them for them to happen now. But , um, I , all I can do is illuminate and I'll try illuminate as much as I can, but yeah, it would be nice if some other people started to , uh, pick up the flashlight as well. <laugh>

Speaker 1:

So , so there you have it folks. Um , Sandra Tamasi . Thank you. Thank you very much for joining us here on subject to interpretation. We're thrilled to have spoken with you and you let us know what new projects you come up with.

Speaker 2:

Sounds good. Thank you, Maria .

Speaker 1:

Take care. Did you know that the Lara Institute has a membership for legal interpreters? Stay up to date with continued education credits by taking advantage of interesting and informative monthly webinars, free educational resources and access to special discounts. Other benefits include job postings from agencies and judicial offices from all over the country. Join us for free on our website at de LA Mota institute.com/become-a Ash member . We hope that this podcast has enriched your journey along this fascinating field of interpretation. Perhaps you've learned something new. Remember something you had forgotten or are now encouraged to try something different. If you're watching this on YouTube, please share your comments with us below. And if you're listening to us, don't forget this subscribe. So you don't miss our weekly episodes. Take care.