Lost in Translation: Interpreter Shortage Deprives Justice in Santa Clara County Courts

An excerpt of this story can also be read in Spanish. —Editor

Jaime Gonzalez’ daughter leans on her grandmother, who holds the young girl’s sleeping infant brother. Gonzalez sits and waits in the “Spanish-speaking” row of a stuffy courtroom. His ability to remain in the country is in jeopardy after his drug-addicted ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence, a charge he denies. For nearly a year, he has been to court “many, many times,” only to be delayed or sent home due to a lack of interpreters.

The judge calls a name, but it’s not Gonzalez. His eyebrows tighten with concern. He swivels his head to look at interpreter Mariela Phelan-Caceres. At any moment, she might be whisked away to a higher-stakes trial, and he’ll have wasted another day in court.

“Excuse me, your honor,” Phelan-Caceres interjects. “We still have a Spanish-speaker.”

“Ah shit,” grumbles a tattooed white man, apparently further down the docket.

Phelan-Caceres’ eyes focus as she interprets in real time. Gonzalez answers questions and presents papers documenting his compliance with all of the court’s directives. The judge nods, commends his behavior and dismisses him. Gonzalez’s shoulders loosen and he turns to his family, tilting his head toward the door and pursing his lips at his daughter, Lalezka.

Through Phelan-Caceres’ interpretation, Gonzalez explains to me that his ex-girlfriend filed the charge right after returning from a year-long recovery program. When she came back to their house, she kicked out the care-giving grandmother without a word of thanks, then relapsed and became verbally abusive.

Gonzalez cut ties with his ex and maintains his innocence, but the accusation temporarily removed his children from his full-time care. In that time, Lalezka’s grades, attendance and confidence suffered, according to a letter from the after-school program where Gonzalez once volunteered to improve his English and help his daughter with homework.

Through his community service, he has earned back custody, but his legally mandated responsibilities have taken the place of volunteering. He had hoped to get his name quickly cleared. Instead, he’s been struggling for months to untangle himself from a confusing, and at times humiliating, legal thicket.

***

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Mariela Phelan-Caceres says a judge once laughed in her face when she asked him to instruct a witness to speak slower. (Photo by Jessica Perez)

Because of a persistent shortage of interpreters, Santa Clara County’s justice system has effectively segregated people by language for years. And this separation has led to inequality.

“It’s a huge problem,” says county Public Defender Molly O’Neal.

According to court filings, defendants, county interpreters and defense attorneys, English speakers receive the full protection of due process far more often than non-native speakers who regularly get delayed and sped through cases with overworked interpreters or uncertified bilingual court members. These defendants are expected to make life-altering decisions in a matter of seconds, sometimes before they grasp the full consequences of their case.

“One day, I want to become a citizen. How am I going to do that?” Gonzalez says about his charge. “Especially since I don't have any schooling. I was born in the streets. I grew up with foster parents. But I didn’t get into the gangs, into the drugs. Only working. They need to apply the law the way it should be. They need to investigate the cases the way they should be. You feel like they’re stepping on you.”

The ripple effects of this shortage has earned the South Bay court system one of the worst reputations in the region. The Hall of Justice averages two or three fewer interpreters per day than the minimum to run the courts properly, according to California Federation of Interpreters spokeswoman Mary Lou Aranguren.

“Compared to other courts in the Bay Area, only Santa Clara County is suffering this kind of extreme, chronic and ongoing shortage of Spanish interpreters,” she says.

Court officials say they don’t keep track of the number of Spanish-speaking defendants that have been affected by the shortage. They maintain that every person who enters the courthouse receives equal treatment, regardless of the language they speak.

Aranguren, public defenders like Meghan Piano and interpreters including Phelan-Caceres paint a different picture. They highlighted problems in more than 70 interpreter-needed cases between Jan. 20 and Feb. 26—a number they say is only “the tip of the iceberg.”

Many times, Spanish-speaking defendants must endure outlandish delays. Take Pedro Hernandez, who waited for an interpreter from 8:45am to 4:15pm on a Jan. 20 court date.

“One day, I waited until 2:30pm only to be told there was no interpreter," Gonzalez says. "I have children in school. Since I’m a single father, I have to cook for them, wash, clean, everything. I don't have anybody to take care of them. We don’t have another alternative. I don’t want my children to be seeing this. You get stressed out waiting for an interpreter. Perhaps there’s going to be one. Or perhaps not. That’s the biggest problem.”

When no interpreters are available, would-be defendants must reschedule. This primarily affects Spanish speakers, but for defendants who speak a less common language, wait times can stretch for months. Jaswinder Singh has been rescheduled five times because he speaks Punjabi, yet still no suitable interpreter has been hired to help his case. Because of delays and rescheduling, countless hours funded by taxpayer dollars have been wasted waiting for interpreters.

“It’s a problem,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen says. “We have a lot of cases, and I want those cases moving. Anything that slows down the administration of justice is not good for the community.”

In other cases, defendants waive their constitutional right to an interpreter hoping to get a speedier verdict. But doing so puts them at risk of not understanding the ramifications of their trials. On two days alone, Feb. 10 and 16, this happened to Karina Vera, Mauricio Sanchez Hernandez, Glenn Alejandrooca Ocampoflores, Richard Quiroz Mendoza, Wilson Antonio Henriquez, Long Hoang Do, Rodolfo Angel Ojeda, Jose Leonardo Carabajal, Oscar Ortega Diaz, Victor Mendez, Antonio DeJesus Cortesarista and David Perez Ramirez.

Defendants who waive their right to an interpreter must settle for whoever (if anyone) can speak Spanish in the courtroom. On Jan. 20, Luis Oscar Chavez Mendoza waited five-and-a-half hours, only to waive his right to a certified interpreter and rely instead on a Spanish-speaking attorney from the Public Defender’s office.

In other cases, judges have taken to acting as interpreters for defendants, which both the public defender and district attorney consider inappropriate behavior from the bench. On Jan. 20, Judge Teresa Guerrero-Daley interpreted for Roberto Avalos Santiago, Francisco Alirio Catedral, Juan Carlos Lombar Gomez and Jose Antonio Rodriguez, then dictated their comments for the record in English. These actions constitute improper procedure, according to several sources interviewed for this story.

“I don't agree with a judge doing that,” Rosen says. “It puts the defense attorney and prosecutor in a difficult situation. To the extent that we argue with the judge, it's about the law and how to apply the law. It shouldn't be about the translation.”

Requests to interview the county’s presiding judge, Risë Jones Pichon, who oversees all court business, were denied.

On Feb. 3, Favian Ochoa Macias waived his interpreter rights—despite facing sexual assault charges. On Feb. 18, Jose Domingo Alvarez Vega waived for a readiness conference concerning his charge of child endangerment. On Feb. 22, Jehova Arciga waived before facing felony drug charges. And on March 7, Primitivo Hernandez gave up his right to an interpreter during a plea hearing concerning his felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

“It's an absolute failure,” says Darby Williams, an attorney who previously worked in the Public Defender’s office. “If somebody walks out of that courthouse and they only have a vague idea of what they've done, or what has happened to them, or their loved ones, then that's an absolute failure. They're creating legal scars.”

***

Carmen Ramos has spent 20 years as a county court interpreter and she says the situation has never been more dire. (Photo by jessica Perez)

Carmen Ramos has spent 20 years as a county court interpreter and she says the situation has never been more dire. (Photo by jessica Perez)

In late 2013, the court employed 19 full-time interpreters. At the time, that was enough. But staffing bottomed out after six retired and several prospective hires refused full-time positions. In a letter sent to the court in April, nine independent contractors expressed concern with the court’s level of service and chose to limit their availability because of “inadequate compensation” and “unacceptable working conditions.” As of now, there are 14 full-time Spanish interpreters—three of whom will retire or resign within the next few months, according to Aranguren.

The county also regularly employs seven contract interpreters (Phelan-Caceres is one of them) and 12 interpreters for other languages, including Tagalog, Vietnamese and Russian. David Yamasaki, executive officer of county courts, downplayed the contract interpreters’ concerns, citing a statewide dearth of translators.

“There’s a shortage of court interpreters,” Yamasaki says. “There just is. We can’t hire them. We want to hire them. We’d love for more people to apply. We have open recruitment. We acknowledge unquestionably that we need more interpreters. We call interpreters every single day to come in. But we cannot force people to accept employment.”

To be fair, court interpreters must possess considerable skills. They have to capture not just the exact semantic meaning, but also the emotional subtext of people with varying dialects and education levels. To become certified, they must pass a rigorous exam—nearly 90 percent of test-takers fail—to ensure they have been trained thoroughly and know their job’s strict code of ethics.

Yamasaki cites the low passing rate as further proof of the shortfall. But that tiny percentage may owe partially to the fact that test-takers aren’t screened for their qualifications. As a stopgap, former interpreter coordinator Karen Jones subcontracted to independent agencies. These workers make $140 per hour—almost four times more than staff interpreters who make $36 per hour.

Over a period of six months, Jones—who was not made available for comment, and was subsequently reassigned during the reporting of this story—asked for 182 hours of subcontracted work at the inflated rate. For the same cost, the county could have employed a staff interpreter for nearly 18 weeks. And in a concerning twist, Phelan-Caceres says some of the subcontractors lack certification, which puts the court at further risk of inaccurate interpreting.

Court spokesman Joe Macaluso says the high demand has led to some interpreters demanding the right to cancel a court obligation at any time for a more lucrative payday in the private sector. But Aranguren argues that the court is hiding behind this alleged shortage to not pay interpreters an acceptable wage.

“It’s all a matter of being competitive enough,” Aranguren says. “Yes, certainly, there are contractors out there who will work for the $1,000-a-day job, and will make the courts a lower priority. That’s the marketplace, but the problem is that they used that as an excuse to simply not address the needs. There’s a great contradiction between their rhetoric about the importance of the services and the reality of what they’ve actually done.”

According to Aranguren, interpreter compensation has failed to match the rising cost of living in the area. Daily contractor rates just went up for the first time up in nine years to match federal levels, but full-time salaries didn’t raise with them, which undermines the incentive for an interpreter to shift to salaried employment. Meanwhile, there is no pay scale that rewards interpreters who stay with the courts—a full-time employee makes as much on her first day as in her 10th year.

Statistics on interpreters don’t quite cohere with the story from court officials.

In Spring 2014, there were 1,282 court interpreters in California. Today, there are 1,336. That could be a shortage, but as of October 2015 the state held $14 million dedicated to reimbursing counties for court interpreter costs. Next year, Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget will allot $7 million more.

But rather than tap into those funds, the county resisted paying travel and lodging costs and turned down applicants because they asked to mediate only specific (but in-demand) trials. According to Aranguren, when Jones, the county’s longtime interpreter coordinator, was asked to present a list of potential hires, she submitted names of some applicants who were ineligible—because they had died.

“Often times, ‘there’s a shortage of interpreters,’ becomes part of the story—and that’s a lie,” Aranguren says. “That is a lie that people have been telling for years. And to us, that’s part of the institutionalized racism on this issue. Even though they have the money, courts take the position: ‘We don’t want to spend the money on that.’ And that is the underlying problem here.”

***

Maria Cruz says court officials have ‘intimidated and retaliated’ against interpreters who ask  for better working conditions. (Photo by Jessica Perez)

Maria Cruz says court officials have ‘intimidated and retaliated’ against interpreters who ask for better working conditions. (Photo by Jessica Perez)

In response to the recent staff departures, Jones reportedly increased her remaining employees’ workload without a proper understanding of their job. Interpreters note that she is only fluent in English and never interpreted, much less at court-approved standards.

“An interpreter may go from interpreting arraignments to pleas to evidentiary hearings to witnesses to victims, rushing from one to another without adequate breaks and with no preparation in cases that require it,” says Maria Cruz, a court translator for 26 years. “This means we will not know what the defendants or witnesses will be testifying to. Not having this context can lead to serious errors.”

David Ortiz, a certified interpreter, recently got promoted to supervisor to help administration understand the unique demands of the position. But according to interpreters, he’s still under hiring probation and Jones blocked his previous attempts to implement change.

“I’ve never worked in a place where the person has no knowledge of the work,” says Phelan-Caceres. “We have only a matter of seconds to do several processes: listening, analyzing, comprehending and interpreting the message. On top of that, we work in very charged emotional situations—homicide, child custody, etc.—and the range we need to interpret goes from sophisticated testimony of a forensics expert to that of a victim who could be illiterate.”

Researchers have found interpreter accuracy fades after 30 minutes of continuous work. To protect against this, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators and the American Bar Association recommend pairing interpreters together “for all lengthy legal proceedings” or giving breaks every 30 minutes.

In Santa Clara County, such practices have not been applied. The April letter from independent contractors stated that “interpreters are shared between defendants and witnesses for the prosecution,” contrary to industry standards.

“We’re not shying away from the fact that these organizations think these are the best practices,” says Yamasaki. “Yes, absolutely, it may be a best practice. But that doesn't mean that it’s a practical practice. Certainly the reports have validity. This is optimally what you want to do. But we don't have our optimum number of interpreters.”

Compounding the problem, Cruz says, is that county officials have “intimidated and retaliated” against interpreters who asked for the proper conditions—arbitrarily docking pay or foisting a heavier workload on them. Without administrative support, these interpreters’ complaints either went ignored or were scoffed at by judges who lacked sympathy for the overwhelming nature of the work.

“Once I worked a hearing and the witness was an expert in gang and prison culture,” Phelan-Caceres says. “Very interesting testimony, but he was going very fast. I was new back then, so I asked the judge, ‘May the court please instruct the witness to slow down for the interpreter?’ He laughed in my face and didn’t do anything. These are the sort of things you encounter here.”

According to Aranguren, this environment has spawned negative health effects—several interpreters have lost their voice and one was “put on disability related to workload stress and impacts on her pregnancy.” When fatigued employees call in sick, the already excessive workload gets even worse. Outsiders have been appalled.

Last year, Nick Zacherl, a former interpreter for the European Parliament, came to work for the county. When Jones denied him an interpreting partner twice, he gave her “the benefit of the doubt” and translated for “longer than [he] should have.” The third time, he translated for half an hour, then told the judge that he would be unable to continue without a partner or breaks—a warning the judge didn’t take kindly.

“The judge called the office to get a ‘real interpreter’ that would work the way that she wanted the interpreter to work, not the way the rules said we should work,” Zacherl says. “When that interpreter came, I thought that I had a teammate to work with. The judge derisively snickered and said that I was being replaced and I could just leave. Santa Clara County throws interpreters into situations where they'll be expected to work for five-plus hours in a row.”

On June 9, San Jose Inside learned from Phelan-Caceres that Jones had been transferred to another division after 20 years at her post. In an email, Macaluso claimed this was done in accordance with the court’s “practice of periodically reassigning staff for continued development,” but this is the first time the interpreter division has seen this type of management restructuring. And though Nancy Pruitt, Jones’ replacement, once managed courts in Palo Alto, Terraine and South County, she doesn’t have any interpreting experience either.

Aranguren and Phelan-Caceres contend that the transfer came in response to the consistent complaints by interpreters, and the reporting of this story. They also stress that an administrative shift means little unless the court commits to altering the way they attract, retain and treat interpreters.

“This changes nothing,” says Aranguren.

***

Interpreters aren’t the only ones who have voiced concerns. Three public defenders have filed written complaints with Aranguren echoing her sentiments. Molly O’Neal, the head of the Public Defender’s office, says she has seen a pattern of disrespect since the 1990s, when interpreters exclusively worked as daily contractors without benefits or a consistent salary—the era in which Karen Jones got hired.

“I think as a system we should learn how to really change the way we look at interpreters,” O’Neal says. “If we’re having a problem getting qualified interpreters into our county, we need to pay them more. It’s an equal access to justice issue that needs to be addressed. We have to fund our justice system.”

Darby Williams, a former deputy public defender, laments that she must speed through interactions with her non-English speaking clients because interpreters are so pressed. As a result, clients chafe at the lack of attention and come to think the justice system isn’t looking out for them.

“Law is all about language,” Williams says. “You don't get the benefit of being able to sit down like you would with an English-speaking client and put them at ease. Instead, you’re hurrying. Then, you have to continue their case. They have to take another day off work … they could lose [their job] in an instant.”

In November of 2012, Judge Vanessa Zecher remanded Alfredo Garcia for a probation violation after a DUI arrest. Garcia hadn’t sought to disobey the terms of his sentence, according to sources familiar with his case, but he failed to sign up for his court-ordered classes because his responsibilities were written in English—a language he couldn’t read.

The decision was rightfully reversed, but nobody knows how many defendants like Garcia have been unfairly punished for not speaking English. And the linguistic demands of the county’s court system aren't expected to wane.

Non-white citizens now comprise a majority of the population. By 2050, Latinos are projected to outnumber whites 36 percent to 28 percent.

The consensus from attorneys and interpreters is that the court simply needs to make its interpreters—and by extension its defendants—a priority. Aranguren says she’s encouraged by Jones’ transfer, but she stresses that there must be further reforms to ensure that the county protects the due process rights of the public.

“There’s nothing rational about this,” Aranguren said. “This really is a constitutional crisis. It makes [non-English speakers] feel like there is no justice. Like they don’t matter and their life doesn’t matter.”

66 Comments

  1. So Trump is correct! I think if you don’t speak English, you should live somewhere where you can communicate. Last time I checked the Bill f Rights and Constitution were penned in English.

  2. > And this separation has led to inequality..

    The United States Supreme Court has just ruled that universities can use racial profiling (PC translation: “affirmative action”) as part of their admissions criteria.

    Inequality is baked into federal law, thanks to “progressive” judicial appointments.

  3. Oh priceless, sjoutsidethebubble, is all in a froth again.

    sjoutsidethebubble, Sock Puppeteer of [Approved of] Female Dialogue: Julie Sanchez, … and even Vickie Henry? … or is that last one, “Vickie Henry,” a Sock Puppet of frustrated finfan?

    Yep, sjoutsidethebubble, is all in a froth (and, as usual, one of the first commenters to attack a San Jose Insider piece addressing stunning inequality), when he absolutely knows that hard workers from Mexico are one of the main reasons an elite group of Sly Con Valley people, such as himself?, have it so very good.

    Please let me know the church you go to, sjoutsidethebubble, so I can be sure not to ever go there for solace.

    (we pause for a moment while sjoutsidethebubble either whips out another Sock Puppet, or, directly froths out something about Killary Clinton while slyly implicating me (despite the fact that, numerous times, I’ve indicated I don’t vote for either of the two equals one parties, directly within his reading range), as if I would ever vote for her; while frothing support for Robber Baron, (LEGALLY visa’d into (with his parents) the US from Germany, unlike so many ‘illegal’ agriculture ‘workers’, leaf blowers, nannies, hotel and restaurant workers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ) Peter Thiel’s [PayPal, Facebook Mentor, Palantir] owned Trump.

    • > when he absolutely knows that hard workers from Mexico are one of the main reasons an elite group of Sly Con Valley people, such as himself?, have it so very good.

      DIANE:

      The hard workers from Mexico WANT to come here and they WANT to make it good for me. For which I thank them very much.

      I would just ask them respectfully to come here LEGALLY.

      My question for you is: why don’t the hard workers from Mexico want to go to Mexico, and why don’t they want to make things good for Mexicans? Why do they like me better?

      Do you have any idea?

  4. Here’s a suggestion, get a couple of dozen ICE agents assigned to the court and have them check the status of only those defendants demanding translation services. Then, a month into the program, when the demand for translators has dropped 99%, you can send all but one of the agents back to their regular duties.

  5. I believe that the Spanish translators who work at the SCC Superior Court are overworked and underpaid, and in some cases disrespected, as a result of the thousands of Spanish speaking people in the criminal courts. The huge number of Spanish speaking defendants is the problem.
    I propose three solutions to the Spanish speaking defendants: 1) don’t commit crimes; 2) since you live in the US, learn English; and better still 3) return to your home country and commit your crimes there, since you won’t need a court interpreter

  6. “For nearly a year, he has been to court “many, many times,” Ya think you could have learned enough English in a year if your life depended on it? Aye Caramba

  7. JMO that makes too much sense. That did not come from the liberal playbook. Could you please translate for our liberally challenged viewers. The blame game is alive and well in the U S of A … Im sure glad they had a “sit in” on the house floor. Spanish speakers committing a disproportionate number of crimes? Say it aint so. Meanwhile the black on black murders continue to skyrocket in the inner cities. As this country is in a flaming tail spin, led by Obama and Co, we look to blame others for everything that is wrong. The liberal mind is completely diseased and decayed with self loathing guilt. We have to become a better people and nation so our criminals can get a fair shake and be better.

  8. Not enough Spanish translators for the illegal immigrant criminals, and now SCOTUS has dealt another blow to the illegals in CA. A blow for immigrant healthcare.
    The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision effectively blocking President Obama’s immigration program is a major blow to immigrants here illegally who were hoping to apply for healthcare coverage in California. Immigrants who are not in the country legally are ineligible to sign up under the Affordable Care Act. However, immigrants who are granted temporary relief from deportation may sign up for Medi-Cal. Had the decision gone the other way, half a million immigrants could have applied for health insurance in California, according to research. That health insurance for the illegals would be paid for by higher premiums under ObamaCare.

  9. I’m seriously confused. Why is it when I travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, etc…everyone there speaks perfect English? At least enough to communicate with me? But the people here, cant speak a word of English?

    Perplexing.

    AND…..i really dont think Diane is speaking English either….

  10. The United States has needed interpreters from its beginning, even before it was a country. We have Pocahontas and John Smith for example. Every time we dealt with Native American tribes we needed interpreters. When we are at war we need interpreters. Our U.S. presidents, other political leaders and businessmen need interpreters. Mr. Trump needs and uses interpreters when dealing with non English speaking business men and other aspects of his private life.

  11. California, in a state completely controlled by democrats many of the with latino names, and 8 years of Obama’s open door immigration policy, a sanctuary city policy, where 36% latino, a majority in the new math in 29 years if we don’t build a wall. I’m somehow supposed to believe this is the fault of racist white people.

    Please tell me, if I get drunk crash my rental car into a storefront after robbing a gas station Cabo will the trial be translated into english by a court apointed translator?

  12. There is no shortage of interpreters in the Santa Clara County Courts and it will be proven shortly in a way not expected by the same individuals who have stated that those of us interpreters who do not hold a college degree are bringing down the dignity of our beloved profession. What does exist is a shortage of truly professional interpreters willing to do the job that they signed on for when they came to work for this County.

    It will be seen how some of the information has been fabricated and the general public has been duped as well as the legal representatives working within our Santa Clara County Courts. I invite those legal professionals be it public defenders, or district attorneys to provide a statement showing that when I have been assigned to their respective departments, they have ever had to wait more than a few minutes regardless of how many departments I have been assigned. I further request that any attorney who has been given my personal phone number so that they can contact me directly when they need an interpreter when their respective interpreter assigned to their department has not showed up or is nowhere to be found to state either publicly or in private if they have not had me appear within minutes even though I may have several departments assigned.

    There is so much information that will be coming out shortly that will vindicate the wonderful efforts that Administration has put forth to serve the public and in particular those who need the services of individuals like myself who love our profession even though it is difficult at times because of my physical ailments. In addition to information that will be provided by public officials should they choose to do so, I will be putting forth my own experience while I have been working as an employee for the Santa Clara County Superior Courts for the past 5 years as an employee and a total of almost 25 years as an independent contractor. Should any attorney reading this message wish to discuss with me my points of view and what I have seen prior to the information going public, I will be at your disposal on any day of the week at the Hall of Justice. Just ask administration or the interpreter coordinator of my whereabouts and they will inform you of where I am and I will gladly provide you with information you will find quite revealing based on my own personal experience and documentation I will be able to provide backing up my statements. Please feel free to contact me any time and I will make myself available to speak with you provided I am not busy on a case in any of my assigned departments.

    The attorneys and Judges of Santa Clara County as well as Spanish speaking only defendants and clients of the Courts have been provided a great disservice not by Administration but rather by certain unscrupulous interpreters who continue to request and demand a full day’s pay for half a day’s work, not including their 1 to 2 hour lunches when some have chosen to take only half an hour for lunch in order to leave work a half hour early.
    Please stay tuned. There is much more to come including how I have personally been the victim of denial of equal representation by the Union while others have enjoyed selective representation because of their friendship with Union representatives and shunned me because I choose not to agree with their tactics and agendas which has garnered ill will from the public and other officials against those interpreters like myself because of the images created by a certain group of interpreters who constantly complain about the working conditions yet are still here instead of working in the private sector which is so incredibly much more lucrative.

    Or could it be that the private sector is more demanding of the people they wish to pay and will not succumb to the lazy practices demonstrated every day by interpreters working for a public agency like the Courts who seem to have more leniency? Something to think about.

    If there are those who are unhappy and disatisfied with their working conditions and if they are so bad making it difficult to continue performing their job with efficiency, there is a simple solution to end all this rhetoric. If you don’t like where you work, then leave and stop complaining. Go work where there is more money to be made if they feel you are qualified and let those of us who are happy with the working conditions perform our duties in peace.

    I can safely state that in my almost 30 years as a California State Certified Court interpreter, I have never worked so little as I have these last 5 years that I have been employed by the Santa Clara County Courts. This has been paradise compared to my private sector work and I am thankful for this opportunity to finally take it easy in my old age. But ask any Administrator, court clerk, Judge, deputy, bailiff, or fellow interpreter who has had the opportunity to see me work if I have been taking easy by regular standards; even in spite of me being only 50% as capable as I have been in the past due to diminishing health.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you in person after you have read this message or perhaps later when certain information will go public. Stay tuned….

    • So, if you only function at 50 per cent capacity, should you even be working? Doesn’t your profession require more than 50 per cent mental ability?

      • I completely agree with you that we as interpreters should be operating in the court room at 100% of mental capacity. Thankfully my physical ailments still allow me to continue operating at what I would consider my currently utmost capacity. My mental acuity and my vocal cords work just fine.

        When I say that I am operating at 50% of my former capability I am referring to my physical limitations. For example, I can no longer walk as fast as I could before my 3 surgeries. I cannot use the stairs because I feel an instant pain in my legs shooting up my spine almost causing a paralyzing pain but I still do because I need to get to my assignment and there are people counting on me.

        Last week I was interpreting at the witness stand for 3 1/2 days. I was only able to stand for 1 1/2 hours at a time at the Witness stand before the pain in my damaged joints and bones started to make it necessary for me to rest. Thankfully the Judge in that case would take breaks every 1 1/2 hours and I rested enough to continue until I was no longer needed. I received the thanks of the Court and the attorneys and it made my pain seem worthwhile because I felt empowered that I was able to prove to myself that I can still do my job in spite of my limitation. Each new task that I accomplish gives me the strength to continue trying to do my best until I no longer can.

        In the past before my bone illness, I would have been able to go all day without having to sit down. However, now my physical limitations force me to sit down and rest prior to continuing with any long cause matters taking more than 1 1/2 hours at a time for which I must stand and physically exert myself. So I hope this answers your question regarding my inability to perform at more than 50% of my former capability.

        Thank you for your interest and your question.

        • I am sorry to hear about all your ailments due to your age and declining health . You should consider retirement. Taking care if you’re self as an aged person is more important than any profession. The next thing to go will be your mental health. Enjoy your retirement while you still have the mental ability to do. Good luck Sir.

          • Good advice Concerned but I feel I still have a few good years left of service. When I feel I can no longer perform, I will definitely give it up but for now it helps me not think about my physical limitations and I feel good when I can help those that can use my services.

    • Juan,
      I’ll give you a call next time I go to Cabo, leave us your phone number!

  13. funny how european language on this continent is treated. broken treaties are a reflection of the way pilgrims treat all others. justice has yet to land in america. this is not england or spain!

  14. @Juan De Leon Juan, for the time I have known you, although you are always willing to work hard wherever needed; I have also seen that you are willing to be unkind to colleagues, and on many occasions you worked to destroy their reputations by saying the same things you are saying here to the Judges, attorneys and court staff. I have heard you make comments to start fights and agitate people, when you were putting someone down by making comments about their appearance or professional capabilities. I know that you will seize every opportunity to brag about yourself, just like you are doing right now. You seem to find pleasure in ridiculing the thoughts of other people, while you pioneer controversial points of view [ as opposed to speaking of facts] to make yourself stand out. Basically, you are a bully, and there is no way to reason with you. You did not speak out at our recent staff meeting, where your colleagues would say what I am saying right now, and embarrass you in front of everyone. We are here now because you wanted to have an audience to embarrass humiliate,ridicule, shame and demean others without anyone having a chance to do the same to you. I will not stoop to that level and get into an argument with you, but I will not allow you to abuse others and do them harm by presenting your skewed opinions as facts.

    Juan, what you have done here, is to take our valuable time in order to derail meaningful dialogue, attack people personally, when they are not here, and on many occasions you have done this very same thing by speaking to management alone in order to control the conversation. I suspect that your misguided activism has greatly contributed to recent management changes, so we have that to thank you for.

  15. First of all, Cassandra,

    I have no idea who you are unless you are hiding your true identity for fear of coming out and expressing your opinion or attacks against me in public for fear of borderline slander and libel for which consequences would be forthcoming. Or is it that you are one of the interpreters who I have been asked to replace in court on different occasions because of your inability to perform to the satisfaction of the Judge and/or Spanish speaking witnesses or defendants who refuse to have you interpret for them because of your inadequacy? Why don’t you identify yourself so that I can address you properly and so that your words have some validity as a respected member of our interpreter community. Or are you perhaps one of the interpreters working for Santa Clara County who will be named as someone who has been cheating the taxpayers by taking extended lunch breaks without submitting documentation so that taxpayers are not held liable the many hours you have taken at taxpayer expense without their knowledge until it is revealed who you are? I cannot possibly respect anyone who hides behind the anonymity of the internet. However, I will respond to your comments only to show that I am will not back down from your public cowardly attacks hiding behind this realm of cyberspace.

    You mention that I do not speak of facts when I express my opinion. This is perhaps the first time I will be given the opportunity to present facts as they truly are. The public will be allowed the opportunity to determine whether I have skewed the facts in any way. The public will decide if in fact my statements are true after being provided with impartial and legally obtained documentation and also be allowed to participate in the correction of any inconsistencies regarding what some members of the interpreters working at the Santa Clara County Courts call a shortage of interpreters.

    You mention that I did not speak out at the recent staff meeting which I have no way of knowing if you were there or not because you cowardly refuse to identify yourself but you speak as though you were there so I will give your alleged presence the benefit of the doubt. It is true that I did not speak out. It was evident to me by listening to some of the speakers that the agenda had already been set. What was supposed to be a friendly opportunity for Administration to introduce our CEO to those of us who had never met him, turned out to be an Administration bashing event in which administration was blamed for everything but the 1st and 2nd world war! I was not going to stand for that and I left as I felt there could be no positive input that I could provide. Besides, I am one of those uneducated interpreters who doesn’t have a college who is bringing down the dignity of my chosen profession because I did not have the benefit of being able to afford school because either my parents did not have the money to afford it or because they put me to work right out of high school in order to help other members of my family succeed in life. This “up and coming young professional” as she calls herself is the same one that criticized us interpreters for not having a college degree and is bring down our profession. Yet she is the same intepreter who has caused many problems within the courts themselves and now she is bashing administration? Do you really think I was going to sit there and listen to any more of this controversial rhetoric when this meeting was supposed to let us know how Administration is interested in our needs and concerns and how they plan to address said issues? What possible contribution could an uneducated man like myself with no college degree give to a room of predisposed individuals bent on insulting and demeaning members of this Administration who has been so kind to me over the years. Instead, I left to cover my assignment in which a Judge and staff were waiting for me to interpret for a Witness for a trial already in progress. I felt my presence was more necessary there than in this Administration bashing proceeding.

    You say that I have taken your valuable time but you do not disclose how. Am I taking your time by having you address me in this manner during normal work hours? Is that how I am taking your time? If it’s true that we are so overworked and hardly have time for ourselves, would your efforts not be best utilized by doing your job instead of fomenting further hatred against me for having the courage to bring forth to the public what is really going on within the Interpreter Unit of Santa Clara County? Your opinion as an unidentified individual involving himself or herself in this matter means very little to me for if you can’t come forward and present yourself anonymously. The opinions that do matter to me are those coming from the Judges whom I have had the pleasure of working with yet are the target of some interpreters who demean them for their administration of Justice subject to the conditions created by self-serving interpreters who would rather first prioritize their needs instead of the needs of the Courts. I value the appreciation and the opinions of the many attorneys who are thankful for me being there to help them when the interpreters assigned to their departments either do not show up or don’t have the ability to handle multiple departments because of their preset ways that lead to the slowing down of the Justice system and deny defendants their right to due process. I admire and respect the opinions of Administration officials who thank me for my service even though I don’t feel it compares to my previous ability to perform.

    Your comment that I attack “people personally when they are not here” has me greatly confused. Perhaps it is a lack of my college degree that doesn’t allow me to understand this properly. How is it possible for me attack “people personally when they are not here?” Perhaps it is something only a college educated individual would understand so I will not delve into it any further so as to avoid any further manifestation of my ignorance.

    As far as me approaching management alone to deal with issues that are of significance to me, I will not deny. Some of my matters of discussion have been truly of a personal nature which I need not disclose and would violate HIPA laws and yet others have been of a professional nature in which I have been given the opportunity to express myself as I see fit in order to continue my career with the Courts. This is an opportunity which has been granted to not only me but also by the C.E.O. at that same staff meeting you were allegedly present at. Should others not avail themselves of this privilege and opportunity to disclose their feelings that is their choice.

    As far as management changes, I guess I should be flattered that you feel that I have that much power. How can a simple uneducated man with no college degree and definitely not an “up and coming young professional” like myself wield so much power and influence? Perhaps it is your misguided activism that is prompting you to make such irresponsible statements and conjectures.

    You say that you will not get into an argument with me yet your comments here are nothing more than an attack on me personally and without me having the benefit of addressing you directly. Hopefully you come out from behind your cowardice and will point out specific events and point out facts as I will do in the coming weeks with all the appropriate facts and documentation. As far as you calling me a bully, I call being assertive in my opinions but you can call me whatever you would like. Hopefully your methods of expression have been as successful in your life as my assertiveness has been in mine. If you decide to commence your assertiveness by identifying yourself, hopefully you will find this a liberating experience instead of hiding behind typewritten text with no identifying information.

    I apologize to anyone reading this message for any errors in spelling or grammar. I again emphasize that I do not have the benefit of having received the education some of my colleagues have had and I do not know how to express myself like they can. It is my sincere desire that if any reader choose to respond to my comments please do so responsibly. Should you have any questions about my work ethic or me as a person, I encourage you to please ask Administration about me. Perhaps speak to any public defender who I may have had the opportunity to deal with. Perhaps even speak to a Judge about my reputation and my conduct in their courts. I welcome from them any criticism or comment that would help me improve my commitment to the performance of my job in this profession that I have chosen.

    • Juan:

      Many people would like to know how you are able to post such lengthy posts on SJI.

      Most people seem to be limited to twenty lines or so.

      What is your secret? What kind of system are you using?

      • I did not know there was a limit. I just type and submit. No system. That was a random question. Anyway, I guess that would be a question for the publishers of this publication to answer. I do not know why some can type more than others. Sorry. I can’t help you there. Could it be your browser? I use Opera.

      • If I type more than 10 lines, the “Post Comment” button disappears. Wassup widdat, Josh?

    • “I again emphasize that I do not have the benefit of having received the education some of my colleagues have had and I do not know how to express myself like they can.” Seriously? You can’t express yourself yet you’re a government qualified translator? WOW!

      • Mr. O’Connor,

        Perhaps you do not know the role of an interpreter. The function of the government qualified translator (as you call me) is to interpret from the source language to the English language and vice versa while making every effort to adhere to the original meaning of the words spoken. While performing this process it is not the function of the interpreter to express himself or herself but rather convey as close as possible the expression of the words relayed by the speaker.

        My lack of ability of expression is my personal opinion as compared to those more educated individuals who are much more adept at expressing their personal feelings and thoughts than I am. If you find cause to ridicule my phraseology then all I can do is respect your opinion and try to improve my abilities so that I can continue to perform my service to the public as best as I can.

  16. Last year I accompanied an employee and his wife to court because my employee was caught drunk driving but was willing to accept his punishment for his wrongdoing. He used an interpreter although I believe he spoke enough English to get by. She was a pretty young thing who spoke with an accent and although I could be wrong, she looked similar to the woman in the pictures included in this article but I can’t be sure. The point I want to get at was that I was very upset when my employee was speaking and this interpreter was not saying everything my employee was saying. She seemed actually kind of rude and I felt she wasn’t interpreting correctly. I am mindful that my Spanish is very limited and comes only from dealing with my Spanish speaking employees but I can understand enough to know she wasn’t saying everything he was. I didn’t know whether I could speak up or anything because I don’t know what the rules are. His case got handled right away but it left a bad taste in my mouth because of this interpreter. My employee also pointed out to me that he understood enough English to know that this interpreter was not interpreting everything he was saying and in a way felt obligated to accept his case because of her demeanor and the way she spoke to him. Needless to say, this incident was etched well in my mind and I won’t soon forget it but this article brought it back to life for me. A good or a bad thing? I don’t know yet. I will have to think about it some more.

    Another thing I think is very germane to this topic is that I believe my husband knows Mr. De Leon and he may have translated for his law firm in the past. There is no way of knowing for sure without a picture but he is pretty certain. My husband’s opinion of Mr. De Leon if he is indeed the Mr. De Leon my husband remembers is that he is a very professional individual and his skills were admirable. Of even more importance and I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it is that one of my girlfriends works for the Public Defender’s office and when I asked her about Mr. De Leon she told me that he is “a very fine gentleman” and “We all love him. He is our favorite interpreter.” So to be honest I am very concerned about some of the things being said and I am left to wonder if there is any truth to what Mr. De Leon is trying to say. How can someone who people say is “a fine gentleman” and “our favorite interpreter” be all bad? I too would be interested in knowing what is happening there that he feels has to be told.

    Mr. De Leon, I don’t know if you are the same individual who helped out in a few cases in my husband’s law firm but I would appreciate the opportunity to contact you directly if that would be agreeable to you. My husband would also like to speak with you but the staff does not have a phone number for you or the one they have is not working. Even if you are not the Mr. De Leon that dealt with my husband’s firm, could you please email me directly at [email protected]? My husband would like to speak with you. He feels this is nothing more than sour grapes and would like to offer you some legal advice for you to consider and if you are the Mr. De Leon known to his firm perhaps offer representation. Again, please contact me at [email protected] at your convenience.

    God bless you and I hope all turns out well.

  17. Sounds to me the court system is in chaos and corrupted with cronyism. In reading the comments, it’s obvious that one interpreter is the Court Administration’s favorite and not liked by his fellow workers.It’s astounding that fellow interpreters are at each other’s throats instead of dealing with the problem at hand. So what is the real problem? Shortage of interpreters or over-abundance of interpreters who don’t get along? Either way, the public is being disservice. Why don’t you guys resolve problems among yourselves by legal or moral means and let the public concentrate on the bigger picture.

  18. Hello Outside Observer,

    Thank you for your comment and I do agree with you to a point. In fact there is a Court Administration’s favorite but it is not me if by any chance you meant to imply that. The Court Administration’s favorite is an interpreter who was able to convince Administration to do away with certain safeguards that protected to a certain degree, the needless waste of taxpayer dollars. As an example, this interpreter convinced a certain Administrator to do away with a “sign in” and “sign out” log for interpreters who were previously required to document their presence upon arriving to work and when taking their lunch break and logging out at the end of their work day. Because this requirement was done away with there is no “sign in” and “sign out” log to at least add a measure of accountability. This has caused certain interpreters to constantly abuse a system of trust based on the “honor system” by coming in at pretty much any time they feel like it and take extended lunch breaks with no accountability. In other words some of them do not document their absence. This however will soon be addressed in an upcoming investigation requested under the protection of the Whistleblower Act of California.

    For example, there are a number of interpreters who have chosen to take a half an hour lunch instead of the allotted hour lunch in order to be able to leave at 4:30 p.m. and avoid some of the rush hour traffic. However a simple Freedom of Information Act Request will reveal the names of individuals who are constantly violating the so called “honor system” by taking a lunch break anywhere from 1 to 2 hours and sometimes even longer without documenting there extended lunch break. The established and required protocol is to inform our supervisor that we will be taking an extended lunch break and then filling out what is called an RFL (Request for Leave) and then the extended time is deducted from any of 3 sources available to us as interpreters. We can choose to use our available vacation time, sick leave, or if it available, deducted from a special 40 hours of personal leave provided to us every year for no specific purpose. By filling out these required documents which have now been simplified by providing them online, the taxpayer is not paying for this extended lunch hour or hours and there is no reason for concern because he or she is utilizing resources provided to us.

    The same is true of entry times to start the work day and ending times at the end of the interpreter’s shift. Sadly, if a Freedom of Information Act is requested by a private citizen wishing to inquire if these guidelines are being complied with, the names of certain individuals will repeatedly come up as non-compliant by accessing their electronic log and comparing it to any document submitted if there are any inconsistencies with the expected work schedule. This is costing the taxpayers $1,000’s if not 10’s of thousands each year for it is a continuous practice which up until now has remained hidden from the public.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other examples of waste involving the so called “shortage”. As an additional example, in response to the complaints by certain interpreters who feel they are being overworked, administration has had to schedule as many as 15 interpreters for a single day yet a surprise visit to the interpreter lounge would reveal that the majority of those 15 interpreters are sitting around doing absolutely nothing other than surfing the internet, streaming videos and movies, listening to music or participating in other revenue producing activities. This is not their fault in any way whatsoever. They are hired and expect to work upon arrival as would be normally expected but the need for their presence is immediately made apparent when they see there is no work available. It should be noted that non-employee interpreters are being paid $415 a day regardless of whether there are work assignments available for them or not. There are other examples that can be mentioned but will be the subject of future revelations which will be supported by the appropriate legally obtained documentation.

    At the present time, I am personally being ostracized and alienated by Union representatives and their supporters because I am coming forward with this information. Recently, I was informed of certain false statements which have been attributed to me with the only intention being to discredit me and humiliate me so as to discourage me and cause me to desist my activity. This is a matter that will be legally addressed in the very near future in an effort to clear my name and reputation tarnished by unscrupulous individuals trying to promote their own goals and agendas who wish for the current wasteful practices to continue to their own benefit under the guise of helping the non-English speaking public having to deal with the criminal and civil justice system here in Santa Clara County.

    You suggest in your comment that we resolve our matters by either legal or moral means and unfortunately this is about to occur. Because of the harassment I have been receiving and the derogatory comments being made, I have had to contact a law firm to represent me in order to avoid further acts of defamation of my character, slander, and now libel. I have received the moral support and encouragement from many members of the legal community which I deal with on a daily basis and who many I now consider my friends. These same members are individuals who had no idea what was behind this alleged shortage of interpreters. It is my sincere hope that in the upcoming weeks all the documentation required to support my claims of said activity for the past 5 years will be readily for public review and intervening action.

    Should this matter lead to legal intervention because of my willingness to make the taxpayer aware of what is really happening regarding this artificially created shortage, resulting in further retribution against me by Union officials and individuals sympathetic to their agenda for self-serving purposes, then it is hoped that the media will be able to provide impartial coverage of any legal proceedings and further educate the taxpayer community of what is happening to their tax dollars.

  19. Hello Maggie,

    I tried to contact you at the email address you provided but I get a server error when I try to send it out. For some reason I am being blocked from sending you email. I will try to address your comment briefly in this forum.

    I do not know if I have interpreted for your husband’s firm or not. If I did I would need to know the name of the firm as over the years I have worked for many law firms. To my knowledge I am the only Juan De Leon listed in the Master List of California State Certified Court interpreters. If you would like to contact me directly you may contact me at [email protected]

    As far as your husband or his firm willing to provide me with legal advice or representation, I wish to thank him and you for your offer. However, at this time I am already being respresented by a prominent law firm specializing in these matters and who I have used before to prevail in other proceedings involving discriminatory business practices against me. I feel I am receiving the appropriate advice at this time but should my needs change I would be more than happy to contact your husband and/or his firm for additional advice or counsel.

    Also, I wish to thank the Public Defender who made such a kind comment about me and if you wish to share her name with me either on this forum or by private email, I would relish the opportunity to thank her personally for her kindness.

    Thank you Maggie. There is much more to come in the near future and I hope you and your husband will continue with your support as this matter resolves itself.

    • Mr. DeLeon: your posts are filled with hints, innuendo, and promises of information and corroboration to come in the future. Why not just spit it out?

      • Thank you Mr. O’Connor for your interest in this subject matter. The reason I have not posted any information pertinent to the subject at hand is because I wish to comment more responsibly than my colleagues who spoke despicably of Administration citing only self-serving occurrences brought upon by the very individuals who complain but do not step up their game to meet the alleged demands required by the same conditions they cite.

        Additionally, in adherence to my desire to act responsibly because of certain allegations made against me by certain individuals who shall be named at the appropriate time, I have chosen to follow the advice of counsel and allow a State Audit to provide the facts I wish to present. In doing so, my allegations will be corroborated by an independent source and should cease the false accusations made against me by those wishing to silence my divulgence of their irresponsible behavior presently needlessly costing taxpayers $1,000’s each and every month.

        Please allow the time necessary to further investigate the allegations made by an extremely small amount of interpreters who complain about their workload yet are the very ones who are causing the alleged shortage. This State Audit will be prompted by the exercise of the Whistleblower Protection Act. Once the audit has been finalized it will be made available to the public and the public will be able to take the appropriate corrective action including apprpriate sanctions should my allegations of abuse of taxpayer funds by a small number of individuals be sustained.

  20. Dear Mr. De Leon, sorry I have not been able to answer earlier; I am very busy with a new business I started, but your plight has piqued the interest of my subjects. In my husband’s law firm I used to have pretend conversations with attorneys and judges, when my husband was busy working and he was not paying attention to me. I would use Skype to call my phone, and then pretend to be talking to someone important, name dropping and letting information slip, things I wanted my husband to hear. He was amused by that, and told me I should start a side business, which I did. I make sock puppets out of stray socks, those poor things, as I only rescue one of them from the dryer, at least I can find a way to use the orphans. I wish you all the best in your efforts. Everything happens for a reason, as they say, time will tell, it’s all for the better, and ultimately, time will heal all wounds. May you have a blessed life and career. Maggie Nunes

    • Hi Maggie. You seem to have an interesting sense of humor. You made me smile. Thanks. I needed that.

      If you wish to contact me any further regarding the issues mentioned in this article or my comments or your husband wishes to confirm our past business relationship if there is one, please contact me at my personal email address as I noted in my previous response.

      Thank you for your well wishes and God bless you as well. Have a terrific weekend.

  21. Mr. Deleon. My husband is an attorney working for a prominent firm specializing in employment law. For purposes of this forum, I cannot disclose the name of the firm because it’d violate the Bar’s Code of Ethics. However, if you have concrete evidence such as video or audio recordings to support your claims regarding fraud or wasting taxpayers’ money, etc., and you have been the subject of discriminatory practices, you definitely have a case. This needs to stop because we, taxpayers, have had to pay so much for illegal immigrants already and now we’re told translators for them abuse the system.

  22. Thank you for your offer of assistance. However, at this time I am very well represented should the need for legal intervention arise. Regarding the evidence I may have in order to support my allegations, I will be following the advice of counsel and members of Administration who have supported my desire to clear the air, and I will be submitting whatever information I may have to the appropriate entities who will be conducting an independent investigation into my allegations through a protected program offered by the State and Federal Government.

    As far as the discriminatory practices it is important that I state that it is not Administration who is subjecting me to any action I find objectionable. Instead the objectionable treatment and practices stem from the very colleagues I have worked side by side in the past but who are offended that I disclose activities not consistent with their description of the working conditions stated in this article.

    The matters that will be of interest to the public is how a small minority of interpreters abuse the system by taking extended lunch periods at taxpayer costs, not being available to cover their assigned departments for reasons which will be made evident, not coming in to work at their assigned start times and at times leaving prior to the end of their shift while not providing the appropriate documentation so that it will not cost the taxpayer, and an exhaustive comparison of the actual amount of hours worked in comparison to the amount of hours at rest in deference to the claims made by 2 or 3 interpreters choosing to become spokespersons for the rest of us including those who have no complaints of our working conditions.

    These are the same individuals who are bringing negative press by their actions by bashing an Administration that has tried hard to serve our non-English speaking members of our community and to support an honorable profession which helps bring a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. I for one am proud of all the support we have received over the years from every member of the Administration. The Judges have treated us with great respect as have every attorney I have ever worked with during my tenure with the Santa Clara County Superior Court. The attorneys have treated us all more like friends than servants of the public and as such have made our working environment a pleasure to be in. Were it not so, I believe those of us who are discontent would not be working here and instead performing their services in an environment more conducive to their personal satisfaction.

    Please don’t generalize that translators or interpreters in general or as a whole abuse the system. The majority of our interpreter staff are hardworking individuals who come in every day to perform a valuable function and truly enjoy our jobs without any complaints whatsoever. We value the privilege to serve others who can benefit from our ability to communicate in a language foreign to their own. At the end of each day we go home feeling satisfied that we have done our best to serve and look forward to exercise our profession in a way that pleases our superiors and the public who expects us to put their hard earned tax dollars to work in a way that brings the best benefit to those who are disadvantaged because of their unfamiliarity with the language of the Courts and the English language in general.

    Please don’t hold the actions of a small handful of individuals as a reflection of the rest of us wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of others who need our help until the one day that they will be able to fend for themselves without our services because they have gained dominance in a language they find difficult for now.

  23. This Interpreter Juan De Leon es un idiota total. You talk way too much and say very little. Do yourself a favor and STFU

  24. Thank you very much for your profound comment Tato. No doubt an excellent reflection of your fine upbringing and a true testament of your vast intellect. I will take your advice under advisement. Isn’t anonymity great? Have a terrific day.

  25. Tato you STFU! Mr. DeLeon even though I don’t respect everthiing you say I do respect your right to say it. That’s why I fought for this country. I don’t for a minute beleive that you don’t know how to express yourself because you do it a lot. However I do believe you could say what you want when you want. Just hurry up about it though. Too much talk and no action is getting old. Just say it already.

  26. I am a professional interpreter with Federal and California Court certification and I feel that Mr. de Leon and his public forum is an embarrassment to our profession.

    • Hey there stunned. How is Mr. Deleon an embarrassment to your profession? You don’t say how. Is he a louzy interpreter? Don’t you guys have some kind of a system to monitor or check to see if you guys are interpreting right? If he is doing a bad interpreting job then he shouldnt be there. So how about some examples of how he is an embarrassment to your profession? I would be interested in knowing how he is messing up and if he is why is he still working for the court. I think you too have the right to say whats on your mind but I think you should back it up to. To say that Mr. Deleon is an embarrassment without any proof seems kind of crappy in my opinion. Or is there another reason? Its true. How come you dont say who you are liek he says? What do you havd to hide? Just sayin. I would be interested in knowing how this all turns out. I am a third generation Mexican and understand English quite well but I know others who don’t. So if he is doing a louzy job in the courts then he shouldn’t be working there but if you are making him look bad because he has something on you guys then thats pretty louzy too. Just my 2 cents worth.

  27. I am sorry you feel this way Stunned. If you truly are a Federal and Court Certified Interpreter you should be proud of your achievement and be willing to identify yourself as I have done. I do not hide my identity because I have self respect and express myself freely as best I could. It is sad that given your talent, if you are who you say you are, you do not have the pride of ownership of your own words and instead choose to cloak yourself in anonymity. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect it. What I do not respect is that you do not express yourself openly so that your opinion has the validity of someone willing to stand behind his or her words. I do not hide because I believe in what I express. Hopefully someday you can do the same.

    I wish you continued success in your career and hopefully you never have to see the things I have seen that cause me great concern as to where our profession is headed unless it regains the prestige being lost by those who do not hold it as dear as I do in spite of your opinion that I am bringing it embarrassment.

    I will not be responding any further to any more attacks against me by those unwilling to stand for their beliefs and credences and continue to hide because they lack the courage to stand for their personal beliefs and convictions.

  28. I don’t know Mr. de Leon, have never worked with him, and have no opinion as to his professional expertise. I am referring to this ongoing conversation where it seems to me that he has no reservations at all about attacking other interpreters. In Elizabeth’s (no last name) reply, she says she can’t reveal the name of her husband’s law firm because it would violate the Bar’s Code of Ethics, but goes on to comment about Mr. de Leon’s claims of interpreters committing fraud, wasting taxpayers’ money etc,, and says that it needs to stop because we taxpayers, have had to pay so much for illegal immigrants already and now we’re told translators for them abuse the system. B—s—! I have worked in courts for 20 years and I don’t know any interpreter who has committed fraud or wasted taxpayers’ money. This is incendiary language. On the contrary, we work very hard to provide a much needed service to people who need it. And for those who don’t know, we interpret for a lot of people, including victims and witnesses, not just those individuals who commit crimes.

    You don’t like my acronym? Tough. Poetic license.

  29. I am sorry Mr. De Leon. I feel that you are really doing your profession and colleagues a disservice.
    You are very verbos yet you say nothing, you speak of evidence, yet produce none. You demean you colleagues, whiilr portraying yourself as the perfect interpreter and employee.
    I really question your self serving motives, and quite honestly your sanity.
    Please take the time to read your own comments and analyze what you are saying.

  30. Hey STUNNED!

    What a stupid inane comment! You say that there is no fraud because you havnt seen it in 20 years? I served my country honorably for 16 years and never saw a woman or a man being raped. Yet I would sound as stupid as you if I said it wasn’t happening because I never saw it. That is so horrendously stupid. I served side by side with men and women who I would give my lifd for but if I knew any one of them had raped another soldier you can bet your as_ I would expose them. Right after I showed them the love of Jesus of course. Hell yeah I would give them up if I knew who they were. I joined for the honor of my country and my fellow man and to protect your right to say what you say even though it may be stupid as I agree with Deleon’s right to say what is on his mind. At least he’s got the balls to say who he is and doesnt cover up like some of you cowards! Also I never said I didn’t like your acronym. Poetic license? Is that another way of saying coward? Seems like it to me. What a stupid comment.

    Cops cover up for each other because I have seen it when they hastle my buddies. Yeah even us soldiers have a code of silence and cover up things too. I am not proud of it but it happens. So why should you intepreters be any different? I don’t know what mr. deleon has on you guys but obviously he has struck a nerve. Obviously you all hate that he says he is about to tell the world something you guys are covering up. I hope if there is something you all are hiding it comes out and if turns out you guys are pulling fast one on the public like he says then there will be hell to pay. If it turns out its all BS then so be it. I hope he is man enough to apologize but if it turns out to be true I hope to almighty God someone pays for it. So how about it Mr. Deleon? Don’t let my sacrifice and those of my comrades before me go in vane. Say what you gotta say or be quiet. I admire you for standing up for yourself but even that gets old after awhile if nothing comes of it. As for you haters if you don’t have the balls to say who you are and feel you have the right to trample on the right of free speech without sweating blood sweat and tears like I have then STFU!

  31. Hey Carrillo, I counted no less than 5 “stupids” in your latest diatribe. You say you speak English well, so do you think you could come up with better vocabulary than that.? You can insult me and goad me all you want but I will not put my name out on the internet for everyone and their hair dresser to see. C’mon homeboy, you should know that. It’s dangerous out there. RE: The definition of “poetic license”: the freedom or liberty taken by an artist or a writer in deviating from conventional form, logic, or fact to produce a desired effect. The origin of the expression dates back to 1780 – 1790. Check the Random House Dictionary. I agree 100% with Mary’s comments about Juan de Leon. How can he possible get any work done when he’s so busy spying on everybody all the time? Yesterday I got to work before 8, and left the courtroom I’d been interpreting in all afternoon at 5 p.m. I sure don’t have any time to go around policing my colleagues even if I wanted to. That guy, Juan de Leon, is starting to remind me of that mean-a-s bear from Toy Story. And Carrillo sounds like he’s got PTSD, for which I hope he gets treatment.

    • Thanks for the English lesson Stunned. As far as dangerous out there yeah your right but it seems Deleon has more to worry about than you do. With people like you gunning for him I think hes the one that has got to worry about danger. And don’t call me homeboy. You aint earned that right until you have been where I have been.. I saw Toy Story. Good flick. I don’t have ptsd but people like you would definitely bring it on for sure. Hey deloen, how about a beer? Sounds like you could use one with all these idiots coming at you. Hey just do your thing. Whatever happens happens. Its all good. Just don’t back down. Hey I would like to come down and break bread with you sometime. Email me at [email protected] Bob

      • Hi Bob!

        Ha ha ha. Thanks for the offer of the beer. It’s funny because I don’t drink. I wish I did though. It’s kind of embarrassing to go to a restaurant with friends and when the server gets to me to ask me what I would like to drink, everyone in unison yells out laughingly, “Diet Coke, no ice!” Just never developed a taste for alcohol even in the tiniest amount. Thanks though.

        As for “breaking bread” I am assuming having lunch and chatting or something like that right? Well, I only have a half hour for lunch but sure. Bring a sandwich and we can chat in front of the Courthouse during my lunch break. I enjoy meeting new people. Just come by the Courthouse and ask for me. I am easy to find.

        Take care.

  32. I have been reading The Metro for years now, and I know it is a serious publication. The reporter did a very complete investigation and took statements from Jeff Rossen, Santa Clara DA, David Yamasaki, Santa Clara CEO and the Director of the PD’s office. It is a free country, but the fact is Administration had a chance to respond and they did not call Mr Deleon to give a statement. I think the reason for that is evident in this forum. It is easy enough to slander the people that have the guts to take on the system. Mr. Deleon, here’s a news flash: the article is not about you! You are not mentioned in it, and if you are covering all of this courts by yourself why didn’t Mr. Flynn see you? Mmm…. may be you were writing crazy rants in some other thread instead of working as hard as you say you do. Talk is cheap!

  33. Thank you for your observation Metro Reader. You are right, Mr. Flynn did not see me or interview me. However, he was also not aware of the facts that I know and that have been hidden from him and the rest of the public. I am sure that if he knew of some of the things that are causing this “alleged shortage” which are different than the reasons he was told, he or his superiors would have investigated a little more indepth and would have seen fit to investigate a little further and rule out all possibiity of my allegations. I have seen more than most are willing to talk about in public for fear of retribution by those who would be affected by their exposure.

    It is hopeful that some day very soon the Metro will perform a more thorough investigation including the allegations that I have brought forth. For now, I will hold off on any further comment until all the information I will present is validated by an impartial governmental agency. It will be only then that perhaps the public and perhaps others in my profession will honestly see what is happening and do their part to make things right. I apologize if my not revealing any further details is frustrating some of you to the point of anger and making derogatory accusations. There is nothing I can do about how you think now. Perhaps when all the information is brought forth by an agency who stands nothing to gain by either validating or disproving my allegations then things will begin to improve for our profession and those who have contributed to this alleged shortage will do the right thing.

    I have never said I work so hard. Quite the contrary, I have said that I have never worked so little as when I started working as an employee here for the Superior Court of California. I am glad that Mr. Flynn was able to find the right individuals for this photo session while the respective departments of at least 2 of these interpreters were looking for them to perform the services they were being paid for but were nowhere to be found. Hopefully that is of interest to at least one of the readers of this thread and questions the timeliness of this interview and photo session during a period of alleged shortage and overworked conditions. I am glad they found the time during these difficult conditions. Think about it people? If conditions are so grueling, is it logical to conceive that not one, not two, but four interpreters would be available to participate in this type of interview? Please ask their supervisor what was going on while they were busy posing. Or would that prove to be too detrimental to the cause?

    Don’t worry people. If it is found that I was lying and that there is no verifiable proof of my allegations of interpreters abusing the system by taking non-authorized extended lunch hours, coming in up to an hour late on a daily basis without documenting their ingress, leaving early without documenting their egress, then I will make a lot of interpreter employees happy. I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. If an independent State agency does not find my allegations truthful, I will quit. But what if it is proved that I am telling the truth? What are the offenders willing to do? How about at least paying back all the tax dollars expended for their abuse for a start and then a publc apology? You can be assured that if I am proven wrong, I will issue a public apology before my resignation. With that, I am hopeful that you will all allow time to prove me right or prove me a liar. Already some are trying to cover their tracks but it is too late. My accusations are what they have done up until now as hopefully the data will prove. Not what they are doing now to make it appear that they are on the up and up. It is the history that will be revealed that has already cost taxpayers money, not their present attempt at appearing compliant.

    As far as my level of work effort, I will allow my supervisors and Administration to input their own perspective as to my performance as anything that would say will be discredited by those wishing to bash me as they have Administration. I will let the facts speak for themselves. Whether in my favor or not.

  34. Thank you for your observation Metro Reader. You are right, Mr. Flynn did not see me or interview me. However, he was also not aware of the facts that I know and that have been hidden from him and the rest of the public. I am sure that if he knew of some of the things that are causing this “alleged shortage” which are different than the reasons he was told, he or his superiors would have investigated a little more in-depth and would have seen fit to investigate a little further and rule out all possibility of my allegations. I have seen more than most are willing to talk about in public for fear of retribution by those who would be affected by their exposure.

    It is hopeful that some day very soon the Metro will perform a more thorough investigation including the allegations that I have brought forth. For now, I will hold off on any further comment until all the information I will present is validated by an impartial governmental agency. It will be only then that perhaps the public and perhaps others in my profession will honestly see what is happening and do their part to make things right. I apologize if my not revealing any further details is frustrating some of you to the point of anger and making derogatory accusations. There is nothing I can do about how you think now. Perhaps when all the information is brought forth by an agency who stands nothing to gain by either validating or disproving my allegations then things will begin to improve for our profession and those who have contributed to this alleged shortage will do the right thing.

    I have never said I work so hard. Quite the contrary, I have said that I have never worked so little as when I started working as an employee here for the Superior Court of California. I am glad that Mr. Flynn was able to find the right individuals for this photo session while the respective departments of at least 2 of these interpreters were looking for them to perform the services they were being paid for but were nowhere to be found. Hopefully that is of interest to at least one of the readers of this thread and questions the timeliness of this interview and photo session during a period of alleged shortage and overworked conditions. I am glad they found the time during these difficult conditions. Think about it people? If conditions are so grueling, is it logical to conceive that not one, not two, but four interpreters would be available to participate in this type of interview? Please ask their supervisor what was going on while they were busy posing. Or would that prove to be too detrimental to the cause?

    Don’t worry people. I am willing to put up or shut up. If it is found that I was lying and that there is no verifiable proof of my allegations of interpreters abusing the system by taking non-authorized extended lunch hours, coming in up to an hour late on a daily basis without documenting their ingress, leaving early without documenting their egress, among other transgressions not consistent with their work obligations, then I will make a lot of interpreter employees happy. I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. If an independent State agency does not find my allegations truthful, I will quit. But what if it is proved that I am telling the truth? What are the offenders willing to do? How about at least paying back all the tax dollars expended for their abuse for a start and then a public apology? You can be assured that if I am proven wrong, I will issue a public apology before my resignation. With that, I am hopeful that you will all allow time to prove me right or prove me a liar. Already some are trying to cover their tracks but it is too late. My accusations are what they have done up until now as hopefully the data will prove. Not what they are doing now to make it appear that they are on the up and up. It is the history that will be revealed that has already cost taxpayers money, not their present attempt at appearing compliant.

    As far as my level of work effort, I will allow my supervisors and Administration to input their own perspective as to my performance as anything that I would say will be discredited by those wishing to bash me anyway as they have Administration. I will let the facts speak for themselves. Whether in my favor or not.

  35. This is getting out of hand. I believe court translators are professionals so please maintain a certain level of decorum and respect for each other. I applaud Mr. Lion for speaking out and trying to do good for the public. Bravo for contacting the State Auditor. They do a wonderful job. One of the workers at a government agency I used to work for contacted them and, boy, did they expose a lot of garbage! They even found out that people committed fraud by working somewhere while receiving disability payments. (The guy might still be serving time or probation.) I bet if you get them interested, they’ll expose some of that shenanigan here, too. Yeah, government employees’ waste of taxpayers’ money has been around for ever and it happens everywhere. It’s time someone shine the bright light.

  36. Hi Elizabeth!

    Thank you for your words of support. Sadly, it has had to come to this but I sincerely feel this would be my best option. As an employee I am limited as to what I can do legally while still employed and I really do love my job. However, the State Auditor does not have this restriction and upon finalizing their investigation they have the option to pursue their investigation either civilly or through criminal court based on their findings. They would also be authorized to release this information to the public without the need for a Freedom of Information Act request but simply as a concerned taxpayer. They would be free to release names and facts that I am not allowed to expose. So, all in all I think this was the best decision. I was going a completely different route but was convinced by individuals much more educated than myself to pursue this matter with the least bit personal involvement other than to supply the basis for my concerns. So thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

    As to the disability issue, I think you are right. Every year hundreds of individuals across this state are penalized for “double dipping” the system without being aware of the possible consequences. However, in the case of the co-worker you mentioned it would have been possible for him to avoid any possible prosecution if he had sought out the appropriate legal advice. I am surprised he wasn’t represented or his situation was too egregious to remedy. Had he sought legal advice he would have been informed that it was his legal account to use in times of “medically certifiable” need. His attorney would have advised him to replenish “his” account from his own available funds within the allowable grace period or ask for an extension if he didn’t have the funds immediately available. More often than not, the California State Department of Employment – Disability Division makes deals with these offenders whether it was intentional or not. This is a common practice in the Workers’ Compensation Industry and has become a norm often put in writing in the settlement disposition documents. It is unfortunate he did not look into this matter further to avoid the consequences of which you mention. It is possible if he seeks out legal counsel he can get the matter overturned and clear his record. Except for whatever penal time he may have already received his record would remain unblemished.

    He could have also sought relief through special programs funded by the Department of Industrial Relations and set up a repayment plan based on critical need. In any event there would have been no reason for him to have been prosecuted had he known this was “his own” account. Many individuals suffer these sad consequences and it is sad that their lack of knowledge ruins their lives as it did this individual you have mentioned. It is possible that this individual could have avoided this incident altogether by approaching his employer and ask for some other alternative. I have heard of individuals who have approached their employers and have asked for an unpaid leave of absence and met their financial needs by alternative means without involving the State Disability system and it was granted by their employers because of their appreciation for their employee. A grant that is not often authorized but has happened in light of the employee’s value to their employer. It has also been granted when an employee has exhausted his or her Disability account but still needs the time to handle his or her personal, financial, health, or family affairs and based on his or her value to the company it has been granted. This is good food for thought for any individuals ever finding themselves in a similar situation. So hopefully if you know of anyone who could benefit from this information you could relay it to them discreetly so they could avoid the consequences you mentioned occurred to the individual in your comment.

    As far as here at my workplace I doubt anything like that would be possible. Although I did hear of someone at one time who was out on stress leave and received some substantial income for their services during that leave. I am sure however, it was just a vicious rumor of which it seems there are many floating around. Nothing of any significant importance as there are more urgent matters at hand.

    Once again, I wish to thank you for your support of my decision. I believe it is the right decision and I am willing to risk a job I love because of my strong conviction of what I find to be true. It is hopeful that those individuals who are brought forward to face this bright light as you describe it are willing to sacrifice as much as I am. Either I will be found to be a liar or the truth will bring forth something that should have been brought out a long time ago for the benefit of everyone wanting to see their tax dollars put to good use. So soon, I will either be looking for a new job or the facts will prove to be either a vindication or a condemnation. I am willing to risk my job and my word. Hopefully others are willing to stand for their convictions and do the same.

    By the way Elizabeth, it is De Leon, not lion. ;-)

    Have a great weekend!

  37. First of all, I am not making derogatory accusations I am merely speaking the truth. Do you hear me? Secondly, if you feel that you are working so little now maybe you should get a second job. I heard Jack in the Box is looking for an interpreter for their employees. As far as you being willing to put up or shut up I would prayerfully hope that you choose the latter. I would like to take you up on your offer to confirm your work ethic with Administration. Please provide me with a contact and a phone number so that I may conduct my own investigation.

    Sincerely,

    Metro Reader

  38. It seems that the tone of your response is aggressive and you seem upset. I am sorry about that. There are so many wonderful new articles in the Metro that I am sure would not garner this kind of response from you or anyone else. It takes an effort to actually continue to follow this thread as you must physically go back to this article and scroll down past all the new and interesting articles and then read all the additional comments and responses. I can only assume that you are extremely affected by this topic or it is of such great interest to you that you are forced to bypass some of the more recent and pertinent articles that are of interest to the general public and our community. However since you keep visiting this topic I will provide you the courtesy of a response which hopefully does not further antagonize you or further draw your interest away from some of the other articles which I am sure the authors wish you would read so that their wonderful authoring skills do not go unnoticed.

    It is sad that you find Jack in the Box an object of your attack as well by implying that their employees would require an interpreter. This seems racist and derogatory to me and I am sure that any employee of Jack in the Box would find it offensive as well. Perhaps this is why you also choose not identify yourself so you could avoid the consequences of your words. I guess that is your right though to demean an institution implying that they hire employees who cannot communicate in English. Freedom of speech right?

    As far as your prayers are concerned, it is possible that they may be answered. Therefore would it be too much to ask for you to reserve your judgment against me until after the State conducts an independent and impartial investigation? If they are able to determine that my allegations are false and unsubstantiated, wouldn’t that be a wonderful arsenal to use against me and wouldn’t it allow you to humiliate me in public with the facts in hand? I think you would find it much more satisfactory if you had State evidence to use against me.

    Also, you would be able to use those facts against me by filing a personal or class action lawsuit against me for false accusations and unsubstantiated claims that may have damaged the reputations of others who I may have named in my request for an investigation. Wouldn’t that be the prudent action to take? Wouldn’t it be best to wait to see where the chips may fall and then use the facts to condemn me and satisfy your desire to put me in my place? Would it be possible for you to please reserve your comments until then if you feel that is within the realm of your capabilities? Your victory would be so much sweeter. Don’t you think?

    As far as contacting Administration to verify my work ethic and performance, I am not sure what is the correct number to provide you with. Perhaps you can contact the author of this article and he may be able to provide you with the names of individuals you may contact or even perhaps you may contact the individuals mentioned by name by one of the individuals interviewed for this article. I don’t believe the phone numbers are unavailable from the public so it should be relatively easy to do a Google search or a phone directory search for the general number and then request to speak to any of the Administrative individuals in the article or perhaps you may request to speak to the Interpreter Coordinator and/or his/her superiors. In any event I am confident that they will provide you with an unbiased review of my work ethic and performance whether it be negative or positive. You may even want to come visit the Hall of Justice and ask to speak to someone in Administration who you could aid you in your investigation. Perhaps if you have time you may even interview some of the deputy Public Defenders or court room staff about my work ethic and performance in addition to whatever information you are able to glean from Administration. It never hurts to obtain a complete picture right?

    May I ask a favor of you though? After you have contacted the members of Administration who you feel could provide you with the answers you seek, could you please post your results in the comments section even if those comments are contrary to what you may believe or want to believe? Or perhaps even submit them to this or another publication regardless of whether they put me in either a positive or negative light? Other individuals interviewed for this article were willing to mention officials by name and quoted them while revealing their own names and I am hoping you can do the same regardless of whether your investigation proves detrimental to me or not. All I ask is for your honesty is making your findings public if that is not too much to ask.

    I hope you find solace and comfort in your quest for knowledge regarding this subject matter and then perhaps continue to read some of the additional wonderful articles published by the excellent authors of this publication.

  39. I have to admit that you are right. There are a lot of excellent articles that I should be catching up on. This article caught my eye because it seemed you were just bitter about something but your last response has made it clear that you are very sincere. I haven’t heard any others offer to let the facts speak for themselves as you have and I think that adds credibility to what you have expressed thus far. I look forward to the investigation report and I hope that until then things improve so that justice is served in the criminal courts and taxpayer dollars are not wasted. I apologize for my remarks as they were clearly out of line

  40. It is not leave “granted by employers because of their appreciation for their employee”. It is a United States Federal Law, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.(FMLA). It requires employers to provide employees up to 12 weeks per year of job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. It also requires that employees’ group health benefits be continued during the leave. In the case of a family member who needs to care for a seriously ill or injured member of the Military, the leave is up to 26 weeks.

  41. Thank you Stunned for the clarification. I was not fully aware of the law surrounding this subject matter. I appreciate being educated as I am sure others may find helpful as well. In the situations I mentioned I am aware that the individuals had already exhausted their Family Leave Act protection so I assumed it was goodwill granted to these individuals based on their employers’ appreciation of their service since they continued to be off work and then still employed well after their Leave had been exhausted and they were not on Disability. It was a wrong assumption of my part. Again, my lack of knowledge was fully aided by someone far more familiar with the facts than myself.

    Thank you once again for your input and I am happy that these resources are available for any employee desirous of benefiting from this protection. Have a wonderful day.

  42. To Whom It May Concern:
    On Friday, our deputy referred me to this blog regarding the article about how the interpreter shortage has caused a sever injustice to our non-English speaking clients. When I had originally read the article I thought it was a wonderful piece and felt sympathetic towards the needs and concerns of our interpreters. This is no longer the case. After I read the comments in this blog I felt disgusted to the point where I had tears. I got so angry. I just couldn’t keep this to myself and had to speak out even though I don’t know if anyone is still reading or following this blog.
    The way some of you came out attacking Juan. Yes, I said Juan. Not Mr. De Leon as some of you have called him. Anyone who knows him probably knows he likes to simply be called Juan. As I was saying, the way you, his so called colleagues came out attacking him is simply sickening and truly disgusting. Any sympathy I may have felt at first when I read the article has turned to extreme disappointment and ill feelings and borderline contempt. One of you say that he is an embarrassment to your profession. I am here to tell you that if anything he has been a blessing to your profession!
    I have had the opportunity to work with Juan dozens of times and I have found him to be the most professional and ethical interpreter I have ever met. I believe I have met them all over the years and he is the only one that has impressed not only me but my colleagues and court staff as well in every department I have served in. He is the perfect gentleman and I dare say that my own fiancée can stand to learn a few lessons from Juan.
    On many occasions when we don’t have an interpreter we will go across the hall and ask him to help us out and not once has he ever refused. Not only will he help with the matter at hand but he will stay long enough to do all our matters and then go back to the department we pulled him from with never a complaint. Embarrassment? Yeah right! Embarrassment is what the interpreter should feel who comes in after Juan has left and finds out he has already done all our matters when our interpreter finally shows up. He or she should also have some appreciation for having Juan do his or her job. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
    I have worked with all the interpreters in this article and I am not impressed. As for Phelan I know that our Judge does not want her in our courtroom and I have it from a reliable source that other courts would prefer not to have her in their courtrooms as well. Her diva attitude has rubbed many of us the wrong way and to have her as your spokesperson was simply the wrong move on your part and personally rather insulting. Phelan, if you are reading this and I am sure you are, maybe if you stopped flirting with our male staff and colleagues the shortage you speak of would be lessened. Many times when going from one courtroom to another I have seen interpreters outside of the courtroom yakking away on their cell phones or with other interpreters while we need them inside the courtroom. This conduct is simply despicable and downright unacceptable.
    You complain that we don’t respect you. Nothing can be further from the truth. We do our best to get your cases called out of order because we realize that you have other places to go and we try to lighten your load by speaking to our non-speaking clients sometimes with our broken English. Those of us who are more fluent in our clients’ language try to deal with them as best we could thus avoiding you spending more time than needed so you can be on your way. You say we disrespect you? Perhaps it’s the other way around. You don’t show any respect for those of us who not only have to obtain justice for our clients but have to deal with some of you ungrateful interpreters who instead of respecting what we try to do put us down for not getting to your matters right away so you can leave and continue to roam the halls and gossip on your phones as we have all seen.
    I know that Christ was crucified for all our sins but in all honesty I feel some of you don’t deserve forgiveness for your attitudes and simply horrendous behaviors. I am not speaking about all of you as we have had some wonderful experiences with several interpreters and for the most part you are wonderful individuals. However there are some bad apples among you who are spoiling the image of interpreters for the rest of you. Juan is not one of those bad apples and I sincerely hope he realizes that he has many of us on his side including Judges, private and public attorneys, deputies and all the clerks in all the courtrooms we have worked in. I am surprised that more have not come forward on this site to support him but it may be possible they don’t know about it as I and my colleagues did not know until this past Friday. Never-the-less, I have expressed my view and feel I have vented enough for now.
    Tomorrow when I go back to work, I will have a whole new perspective about interpreters after reading these comments and the disunity that exists among you all. However to victimize one of your colleagues for trying to clean up what is an obvious problem that I see on a day to day basis is not winning you any points. As for me, you have lost my support. I too will be looking forward to the State investigation mentioned in earlier posts.
    God bless you all for we all deserve His guidance while we try to understand our fellow man, yes including our colleagues.

  43. To the individual who used my log in name and wrote “No, Mariela, I can assure you I am not Juan.”

    Are you for real friend? Why would you do something like that? What do you have to gain by such an immature act? Is this how you wish to champion your movement? If this is how you wish to represent your cause with these childish antics, by all means please continue. Be aware of the following though.
    If you are an interpreter working for our courts then you know how easy it is to obtain your identity. Should I feel threatened or harassed or menaced in any way because of your assumed takeover of my log in name and invoking hostility, it would be quite easy to obtain an order to obtain the IP Address of your message and pinpoint exactly what time, from where, and even what device was used to write this message including the MAC address of the specific device whether it be a cell phone, tablet, or computer and/or terminal. Law enforcement would then follow through with an investigation.
    Is this how you wish to be exposed? What effect would a criminal investigation have on your personnel record if you are an employee of this County? If you are not an employee of our county and your identity were to be revealed after an investigation would this not affect your reputation whether it be as an interpreter or whatever profession you exercise? Just something to think about.
    If however you are just a reader of this blog and find joy in provoking hostility in a group that is obviously going through internal turmoil, I can assure you that the appropriate action would be taken to end your participation in this venture of yours. Aren’t there better things to do with your time? I for one am hopeful that you will resolve your interpreter issues so that our Courts do not have to suffer the consequences of your disunity.
    To the moderator of this forum, please be advised that a complaint may be made which would result in law enforcement issuing the acquisition of all DNS records including but not limited to network server traffic including IP Addresses for each post deemed as harassment. A Constructive Notice would preface said request.