DVTA connects with Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Affairs

On September 15th, 2011, an initial meeting between the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Affairs represented by Dr. Darlene Thompson and members of the DVTA Board took place at the Quarterly Meeting of the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness. Mrs. Darlene Thompson informed the audience during the Interbranch Meeting about the difficulties the African and Caribbean population faces, such as limited access to services available to them in the City of Philadelphia and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, their fear of the judicial system and the law enforcement and also the difficult outreach to this community which consists of members from over 35 countries where different languages and dialects are being spoken.

The DVTA Board Members Antonio Guerra and Gabriela Jenicek were invited to the Commission Meeting on October 12th, 2011, together with Osvaldo Aviles, the Interpreter Program Administrator from the Administrative Office of the PA Courts to present their ideas and suggestions in regards to the outlined problems.

Mr. Guerra as representative of DVTA, Mrs. Jenicek as independent interpreter trainer, and Mr. Aviles as the AOPC Interpreter Program Administrator recognized that the court certification program, the services DVTA offers and supportive interpreter training are services which might be beneficial to the Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Affairs to support them in their efforts in these communities. The three language service professionals recommended identifying the most frequent languages and then to search within those target communities for qualified professionals who would be interested in the AOPC interpreter certification program and taking on the rewarding profession of a judiciary interpreter. Even though not the entire range of presented problems of the Mayor’s Commission can be solved through this approach, qualified and well trained interpreters for those communities and languages could serve as a great asset to improve the situation of many individuals with limited English proficiency in the court system. The AOPC certification program has a high standard and additional supportive training for those potential judiciary interpreters will be necessary and could be offered through the DVTA.

The suggestions and ideas presented were welcomed by the Chairman of the Commission Mr. Stanley Straughter. The DVTA is looking forward to a productive future cooperation with the Mayor’s Commission and its members.