• Alysa Salzberg

The human face of California’s Chinese-language court interpreter shortage

With a large increase in the population of Chinese speakers over the past decade, California’s Los Angeles County is severely lacking in accredited Chinese-language court interpreters.


A recent article explores this issue not from a general perspective, or through interviews or profiles with those who need an interpreter, but rather by following interpreter Nathan (Mintao) Huang around for a typical day.


And it is a busy one – up early, with plans to interpret for five different clients across the county, taking his “lunchbreak” while driving to an assignment, arriving to interpret for another client who’s been waiting six hours (through no fault of Huang’s). Though Huang has to think fast in order to translate complex legal information in real-time, he doesn’t get much time to rest between jobs.


Following at his side, readers learn why the Chinese-language court interpreter shortage is happening, and the impressive skills it takes to qualify for the job.


Read on to discover the busy, complex job of an L.A. County Chinese-language court interpreter.



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