Ka Wai Ola

OHA and the Hawai‘i State Judiciary are partnering to launch the “5 for 5” campaign, an effort to qualify five Hawaiian language court interpreters for five areas of the state – O‘ahu, Maui, Hilo, Kona, and Kaua‘i.

“As the native language of this land and an official co-language of the state, ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i must have a place in every aspect of our society, from the home, to business, to government,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, OHA Chief Executive Officer/Ka Pouhana. “Over the last 40 years, the Hawaiian language revitalization movement has made tremendous strides in increasing the number of Hawaiian language speakers and normalizing the use of the language. We apprecipate that the Judiciary recognizes these Hawaiian language advancements and are working with OHA and the Hawaiian language community to meet the increased demand for use of Hawaiian in the courtroom.”

Debi S. Tulang-De Silva, Program Director of the Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts, said that more Hawaiian language interpreters are needed to support the use of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i in the courts.

“Language interpreters play an essential role in the administration of justice,” Tulang-De Silva said. “Interpreters help to provide equal access to justice by helping court proceedings function accurately and efficiently. The Judiciary embraces the need to do more to encourage and support the use of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Our policy provides or permits qualified Hawaiian language interpreters to the extent reasonably possible when parties in courtroom proceedings choose to express themselves through the Hawaiian language. Accordingly, the Judiciary is committed to actively recruiting more interpreters for that purpose.” ”

The Judiciary received approximately 10-12 requests in each of the last two years for Hawaiian language interpreters. Presently, six Hawaiian language court interpreters are qualified with the Judiciary: three for Hawai‘i Island; two for Kaua‘i (one of whom specializes in the Ni‘ihau dialect); and one for Maui. There are none for O‘ahu. The Judiciary’s goal is to increase the number of Hawaiian language interpreters to more easily meet existing demand as well as an anticipated increase in future requests.

The “5 for 5” campaign seeks to enlist five Hawaiian language interperters who are qualified for the following major areas: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui-Moloka‘i-Lāna‘i, and Hawai‘i Island in Hilo and Kona.Individuals interested in interpreting for the state courts must:

  • Complete the Judiciary’s Court Interpreter Certification Program Application Form;
  • Attend the Judiciary’s two-day Basic Orientation Workshop;
  • Pass the Written English Proficiency Exam and the Hawai‘i Basic Ethics Exam; and
  • Clear a Criminal Background Check.

The Judiciary is holding a special Summer Basic Orientation Workshop on O‘ahu on September 7-8, 2019. The workshop will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both days. The registration fee is $50.

Interpreters must be at least 18 years old; be authorized to work in the United States; and speak English and another language(s).

Interested applicants should contact the Judiciary’s Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at (808) 539-4860 or oeac@courts.hawaii.gov.