(a) There is established an Office of Interpreter Services ("Office") to facilitate the use of interpreters in administrative, judicial, and legislative proceedings in the District of Columbia.
(b) The duties and responsibilities of the Office shall include the following:
(1) The Office shall formulate and apply reasonable standards for evaluating the credentials and qualifications of persons who may serve as qualified interpreters in bilingual proceedings and proceedings involving hearing-impaired persons. In formulating and applying the standards for qualifications, the Office shall take into consideration such factors as education, training, experience, demonstrated current competence, and certification by a recognized private, federal, or state registry, board, or other organization that is determined by the Office to possess a sufficient level of competence, training, testing, and certification of interpreters in the particular language speciality of the interpreter.
(2) The Office shall establish and maintain a current list of qualified interpreters who are available to provide interpreter services in the District of Columbia. The list shall include the names of persons who are bilingual interpreters and oral or manual interpreters for hearing-impaired persons.
(3) The Office shall distribute the list of qualified interpreters to appointing authorities upon request.
(4) The Office shall coordinate all requests for interpreter services including scheduling and arranging to provide for all interpreter services requested by appointing authorities.
(5) The Office shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of this title, issue rules that prescribe a schedule of reasonable fees for services rendered by interpreters and shall establish rules governing the method of payment.
(6) The Office shall pay for the salaries, fees, expenses, and costs incident to providing interpreter services as set forth in § 2-1912.
(7) The Office may perform other duties and functions as are necessary to facilitate the use of interpreter services in the District of Columbia.
(c)(1) Whenever an interpreter is required under this chapter, the appointing authority shall request the Office to assist in locating a qualified interpreter to provide interpreter services. The Office shall promptly assist in locating an interpreter and shall assist with scheduling and arranging to provide for the interpreter services. If the circumstances are such that the appointing authority is unable, or it is impractical, to request the assistance of the Office in locating a qualified interpreter, the appointing authority may arrange for and appoint a qualified interpreter whose name is included on a list of interpreters maintained by the Office.
(2) If none of the listed interpreters is available and communication with a communication-impaired person is required to ascertain information relating to a medical emergency or to determine whether or not to permit that person's immediate release from custody or detention, then the appointing authority shall appoint any person who is able to accurately and simultaneously communicate with and translate information to and from the particular communication-impaired person involved.
(d) In fulfilling the duties and responsibilities set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the Office may contract for interpreter services at a rate of compensation mutually agreed upon by the Office and the interpreter whose services are contracted for, compensate interpreters on an hourly rate or a per diem rate, employ interpreters on a full-time or part-time basis, use qualified volunteer services, or procure the services in any other method consistent with the District of Columbia law. The Office may, with the concurrence of an agency, department, or governmental entity, assign an interpreter to that agency, department, or governmental entity. The assignment shall be made in accordance with § 1-627.02.
(Jan. 28, 1988, D.C. Law 7-62, § 12, 34 DCR 7426; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231, § 39, 36 DCR 492.)
1981 Ed., § 31-2711.
Legislative History of Laws
For legislative history of D.C. Law 7-62, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 2-1901.
Law 7-231 was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 7-586, which was referred to the Committee of the Whole. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on November 29, 1988 and December 13, 1988, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on January 6, 1989, it was assigned Act No. 7-285 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review.
Delegation of Authority
Delegation of authority under D.C. Law 7-62, the Interpreters for the Hearing-Impaired & Non-English Speaking Persons Act of 1987, see Mayor's Order 90-132, October 5, 1990.