LUNA Language Services has been named the exclusive vendor for all language interpreting requests in the Marion Superior Court system. The Marion Superior Court system consists of 36 elected Judges, 29 commissioners and magistrates who work in 4 divisions – Civil, Criminal, Juvenile and Probate. In a typical year the court will resolve nearly 40,000 criminal cases, 200,000 traffic cases and nearly 50,000 civil cases. While Spanish, Burmese and American Sign Language (ASL) are the most frequent languages requested, interpreters are also provided in a variety of other languages.
LUNA Language Services offers the largest pool of Court Certified and Court Qualified interpreters in the state of Indiana in many foreign languages. LUNA’s Director of ASL Services and Education, Rebecca Buchan, is one of only three Indiana Supreme Court Qualified ASL interpreters. Over the coming weeks, LUNA will be adding several additional in-house full-time legally certified and qualified interpreters to their current team of 13 full-time staff interpreters and over 700 contract interpreters.
LUNA Owner, Chris Waters, first began providing services to the court in 2004 as Indianapolis Interpreters (rebranded last year as LUNA Language Services). Waters and his staff have seen the language needs drastically change over the past ten years. A working relationship between LUNA and the court evolved as the need for non-Spanish foreign language requests became increasingly common. LUNA began intensively recruiting and training rare language interpreters to create a concrete foundation of interpreters competent to provide services in the Marion Superior Court. Beginning in November of 2014, LUNA took over the majority of language requests in an attempt to provide an efficient and cost-effective coordinating system for the court. Waters said, “The Marion Superior Court is a microcosm of our community, incredibly diverse, and reflective of our changing demographics.”
Because there was no formal certification process for legal interpreters at that time, Marina Hadjioannou J.D., LUNA Chief Operating Office, coordinated with the Indiana Supreme Court Certification Office to establish a process for certification for rare languages. This process involves interpreters completing the Interpreter Certification classes, passing a written exam and providing proof of a high level of language proficiency in both English and a foreign language. Once these steps have been completed, the interpreter is able to be sworn in as “Qualified” by the court. Hadjioannou says, “The Supreme Court has been very responsive to orient and recognize trained interpreters who speak rare languages in the courts. We are one of very few states in the nation seeking these solutions.”
Emily VanOsdol, Court Administrator for Marion Superior Court, said “Marion Superior Court is committed to providing equal access to all its constituents.” LUNA, a company dedicated to increasing language access, will work with the Court to ensure that language needs are met for all involved.
Established in 2001 by Waters, former Peace Corps volunteer and Indiana native, LUNA Language Services was founded with a mission of service. LUNA offers interpreting and document translation services for 90+ spoken languages and ASL, and provides work for over 700 language providers across the state.