MARSHALLESE INTERPRETER NEEDED IN ARKANSAS TRIAL

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By Aenet Rowa

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Jan. 31) – The trial of Abon Tili, who is charged with capital murder and rape for the death of Emiti Freddy of Springdale, has been postponed from Tuesday until Friday, February 2.

There was no interpreter available for the start of the proceedings.

Tili, 26, a Marshallese man, was charged in December with killing Emiti who was under his care. Emiti had been sent to live in Arkansas by her parents in the Marshall Islands.

A local judge has been proposing more interpreters be made available by paying local employees already on staffs of departments and agencies. He said Marshallese interpreters are especially needed.

Last week, the Springdale City Council reviewed the resolution establishing bilingual pay for eligible employees of the city. An interpreter for various local languages is needed in all city departments.

The court pays for an interpreter on Fridays, when cases come to trial.

According to the Northwest Arkansas Morning News, Wyman Morgan, city director of administration and finance, said police, courts and the building inspection office as departments that need often translators.

Judge Stanley Ludwig told the Council that he has been unable to find a clerk who spoke the language even though several thousand Marshallese live in the region.

Across the state lines to Oklahoma, the community of Enid sees the need for local language interpreters, including Marshallese, but has had more success due to a State program.

Hundreds of transplanted Marshall Islanders live in the area, drawn by education and work opportunities.

Enid News reported on the growing field of certified interpretation, particularly in health.

"Because of federal mandates, we are using interpreters more and more in health. Police work is also requiring the use of interpreters more," said a minority liaison.

Enid’s hospitals have kept abreast of the need to cross the language barrier. St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center has bilingual employees who act as interpreters when the situation arises, said Cyndy Shepherd, director of corporate communications.

"On any given shift, we have someone available to provide translation. Spanish is most prevalent, followed by Korean and Marshallese. Patient handbooks are provided in translation," Shepherd said.

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