Foreign language interpreters hired by hospitals and courts will soon have to meet state standards. The Governor visited a spanish-language preschool this morning to sign a bill into law which sets the wheels in motion for the new standards for interpreters. Speaking with an interpreter, Governor Tom Vilsack told the crowd of students, teachers and parents a competent interpreters can make a huge difference in certain situations. Vilsack says the bill’s important because it’s potential about “life and death” as when someone goes into a hospital they have to be able to properly communicate their symptoms — through an interpreter — in order to get proper treatment. Vilsack says the same thing’s true when someone goes into a courtroom, as “their freedom may depend on their understanding of the facts.” Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson says it’s about fairness. Pederson says in the last decade, Iowa has seen a huge growth in its Latin population, and that means there’s been an increased demand for competent interpreters. The Iowa Department of Latino Affairs will draft standards for foreign language interpreter certification, and Vilsack says those rules will hopefully be in force soon so Iowa colleges that teach interpreters can review their courses for the fall.
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