February 26, 2010
Translation Project Expands Access to Court Forms
Vital court information will be more readily accessible to non-English speaking Ohioans and those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) as the result of a translation project initiated by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Twenty-seven common forms used in general, domestic relations, juvenile and probate common pleas court divisions and municipal courts throughout the state have been translated into five major languages. The forms range from general information about domestic violence protection orders to appointing a minor’s guardian to a defendant’s waiver of a jury trial.
The five most commonly requested languages in Ohio courts were selected: Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, Somali, and Spanish.
The Supreme Court embarked on the translation project to benefit individuals who have LEP. The Court selected professional, qualified translators to provide clear and accurate translations. In addition to enabling courts to serve and communicate better with Ohio’s non-English speaking and LEP populations, the translation of these forms will increase access to the courts.
Of the 27 forms identified for translation, the Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence recommended seven domestic violence and stalking forms because of their informational or instructional content. For example, one of the forms explains the difference between civil and criminal domestic violence cases and the corresponding remedies that a court may provide. This information is particularly important for pro se parties (parties not represented by an attorney), who make judgment calls as to which courts’ assistance to seek.
The translation project makes information about domestic violence and stalking, including how to obtain a protection order, accessible to people previously disenfranchised due to a language barrier. Courts benefit tremendously from having parties, especially those who are LEP or non-English speaking, informed of the process and understand the remedies.
The project was funded by an Ohio State Bar Foundation grant. Click here to access the translated forms.