Supreme Court has laid out a plan to provide interpreters for people who find themselves in a courtroom but don’t speak or understand English very well. Administrative Assistant Rebecca Colton says concerns about the quality of translators led a study committee to recommend Iowa join a national consortium that’s developed a certification exam for interpreters. The committee also believes we need a Code of Professional conduct and rigorous screening standards for the screeners, eventually setting up a certification program for languages most often spoken in the courts. She points out court proceedings are intimidating enough for those who do speak English — imagine how it must be for those who can’t. Most immigrants in Iowa today speak Spanish, but Colton says there are also more Asian, Bosnian and Sudanese as well.The state’s immigrant population is growing and many of them are showing up in court, so Colton says it’s important to ensure that they know what’s going on and that the judge can get information to make sure they get a fair trial. Colton says there are some interpreters available now, in some courtrooms, though there’s no way to certify that they’re qualified. The procedure varies from courthouse to courthouse, and there’s no certification process. The committee recommended the court post the names of the certified interpreters on a website so any judge in any court around the state would have access to those available when they need someone. Colton says the committee heard examples of some cases where a defendant who couldn’t speak or understand English didn’t get very good handling in courts elsewhere. Rebecca Colton is administrative assistant to Iowa Supreme Court chief justice Louis Lavorato. For a copy of the judicial committee’s report, start at the state website and go to