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Hawai’i State Judiciary program director provides training on language access

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(CNMI Judiciary) — Debi S. Tulang-De Silva, program director of the Hawai’i State Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, provided technical guidance on language access from Jan. 12 to 17, 2020 for the CNMI judiciary, the CNMI Bar Association, CNMI-based interpreters, and other government agencies.

Debi S. Tulang-DeSilva

Entities that attended include the District Court for the NMI, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of Personnel Management, Micronesian Legal Services Corporation, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Lands, Department of Labor, Department of Corrections, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Commonwealth Utilities Corporation, Commonwealth Ports Authority, and Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation.

The training garnered over 200 participants, covering various topics, including but not limited to, language access laws and the impact of mandates, integration of language access for services, and working effectively with interpreters.

The NMI Judiciary’s Language Access Plan and Policy or LAPP is consistent with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. It is the policy of the Judiciary to provide timely, meaningful, and equal access to programs, services, and information to Limited English Proficient and Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons. Covering standards for qualified interpreters and translators, trained court staff and judges, LAPP was made possible through the efforts of the CNMI Judiciary, the CNMI Bar Association, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Public Defender, and other entities.

The CNMI judiciary is grateful to Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald of the Hawai’i Supreme Court for extending Director Tulang-De Silva’s insight on language access. The judiciary is also grateful to the CNMI Bar Association, other government agencies, and interpreters for their involvement in planning and their participation in the language access trainings.

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