Request for Information National Cloud Provision of Court Remote Video Interpretation

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1 Request for Information National Cloud Provision of Court Remote Video Interpretation General Information The state and local courts are unable to meet their need for legal interpreters. They have started to satisfy that unmet need by using remote interpreters. Local courts in several states now do so using either audio only or video interpretation. The Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA), representing the fifty state court systems, believe that remote video interpretation makes business sense. Rather than each state setting up its own system, COSCA would like to have several vendors provide national cloud access to remote video interpretation. Consequently, COSCA has established some draft requirements for such a service. Acting as the agent of COSCA, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) to assess vendor interest and capability in providing a national cloud remote video interpretation capability in accord with the draft COSCA requirements. COSCA and NCSC welcome vendor input about all aspects of the RFI and the draft requirements. Provisional High Level Business Process COSCA desires that NCSC create and maintain a national database of qualified court interpreters. That database will include both certified court interpreters and other interpreters. It will include basic information about the capabilities of the interpreters and requirements of the requesting courts. COSCA expects vendors to query the national database when courts request an interpreter. The database will support interfaces and web services using open technical standards to answer such queries by vendors for available interpreters. Although the database is designed to support real-time queries by vendors and courts for available interpreters, batch downloads of the database may be periodically provided as a backup in case the database is temporarily unavailable. Vendors must then create and maintain a national call center that responds to requests for remote video interpreters in both real time and as scheduled events. The vendors must provide periodic reports to court customers and also provide billing. COSCA and NCSC anticipate multiple vendors providing such a national cloud capability and competing for court business. Thus, COSCA does not wish vendors to engage particular interpreters in exclusive proprietary contracts. As the agent of COSCA, NCSC will compile and maintain a list of national cloud vendors who are compliant with the business and technical requirements. COSCA and NCSC will not share the national database with vendors who do not meet these

2 requirements. Of course, non-compliance with the requirements does not prevent COSCA, vendors, or interpreters from establishing business relationships if they so desire. It is the express preference of COSCA that vendors not try to lock up independent interpreters in exclusive proprietary relationships. Issues COSC and NCSC realize that there are several significant issues to be resolved before vendors can successfully provide a national cloud capability. First, nobody has ever done this before in the court world, so new ground must be broken with all of its uncertainties. Second, courts vary immensely in their existing abilities to consume and support remote video interpretation. Some courts are doing some type of remote interpretation now. Some are doing audio only. Others are doing video, but with American Sign Language (ASL) only. Still others are doing true remote video interpretation. Some courts have interpreters on staff, primarily for the Spanish language. Other courts have no interpreters on staff. Third, only some courts have courtrooms already wired for digital recording of the court record. Other courts include cameras in that capability. Still other courts have virtually nothing except possibly Internet access. This means that one technical solution is unlikely to meet the needs of all courts unless it is very simple for courts to implement. COSCA and NCSC anticipate that vendors may wish to propose more than one technical architecture for courtrooms or hearing rooms. Fourth, courts would ideally prefer that vendors provide remote video interpretation in three modes: consecutive, simultaneous, and private sidebar. COSCA and NCSC realize that the simultaneous mode requires a more expensive and complex technical architecture. Vendors may wish to propose separate architectures in case a contracting jurisdiction would prefer a simpler implementation with less capability. Fifth, there are certainly valid business cases for the use of remote video interpretation, but they may vary by jurisdiction and situation. Courts still need rigorous business cases to support their implementation of a national cloud capability. General Requirements This RFI deliberately does not specify many specific technical requirements. Instead, it tries to provide relevant business requirements that vendors must meet. Vendors are then free to propose the best or most innovative solutions. In general, the courts wish to maintain a certain quality of service while remaining as flexible 2

3 and open as possible. Thus, legal requirements are met, but courts are able to implement solutions at minimum cost and use more than one vendor if desired. The use of open technical standards will sometimes enable courts to implement VRI without replacing all of their existing courtroom infrastructure. Proposed Business Requirements 1. To ensure quality and consistency of VRI services, service providers must staff/contract exclusively with those interpreters who fall within the national proficiency designation tiers as defined by COSCA and are included in the interpreter database maintained by NCSC, as an agent of COSCA. 2. Service providers must access the interpreter database maintained by NCSC, and must provide information about their staff and contracted interpreters from the database to courts upon request. 3. Service providers must conduct a uniform intake at the time of scheduling, and prepare subsequent billing that captures assessment-friendly data, such as date, language/dialect, whether there was successful delivery of interpretation services, cost of these services, national proficiency designation of interpreter who provided services, type of court, and length of court event. Service providers may also provide number(s) and role(s) of consumer(s), mode of interpretation and type of court event/hearing. Service providers should maintain the data in reportable format. The Language Access Advisory Committee (LAAC) of COSCA may modify the aforementioned categories of data; such modifications will be published and available for distribution to all concerned parties. 4. Service providers must employ a complaint process, which would include court interpreter performance and other vendor issues and provide for prompt, written responses to complaints, for courts to utilize. Service providers must provide interpreters names for the record for quality control purposes. They must also provide this information to the court upon request and comply with requirements that NCSC demands for use of the database. 5. Service providers staff and contracted interpreters must sign and agree to abide by an interpreter Code of Ethics approved by COSCA. 6. Service providers must have the capability to provide both services on demand (within no more than sixty minutes) and services as scheduled. Service providers must also specify which languages they can provide on demand. 3

4 7. Service providers must provide training for use of remote interpreting equipment, as defined by LAAC, consistent with best practices, for all of their interpreters/contractors. Proposed Technical Requirements Technology is a fast and ever-changing world, so requirements must start with the business goals of state courts using or planning to use video remote interpreting (VRI) technology: 1. Interoperability Courts want to switch providers or use multiple providers easily. Use non-proprietary video and audio technical standards. Use widely available video and audio technical standards. 2. Reliability Courts want the system to work all of the time and every time. Provide a high system availability (please specify capability). The proposed capability is an availability of 99.9%. Resolve technical problems quickly (please specify capability). The proposed capability is to resolve within five minutes 90% of all problems where the court s technology and bandwidth meet the recommended standards. 3. Quality Courts want business quality audio and video to ensure appropriate due process. Exhibit no perceivable latency in video or audio. Exhibit no visible jerkiness in video. Courts vary tremendously in their current capabilities to support remote interpretation, so technical solutions must work for several different court environments: Provide end points for electronic courtrooms with existing digital video capabilities. Provide end points for non-electronic or audio only courtrooms. Technical requirements also vary for the different modes of interpretation and interpretation needs in court: Provide consecutive interpretation capability. Provide simultaneous interpretation capability. 4

5 Provide private sidebar interpretation capability. Provide capability for sight translation of court documents by interpreter. Finally, courts sometimes want to integrate the end points permanently into electronic courtrooms and at other times want to use temporary mobile end points. Provide fixed end points. Provide mobile end points. Format for Responses Responses should be no more than ten pages long. COSCA and NCSC are not interested in extensive marketing information. We are genuinely interested in the answers to our open ended questions: 1. Indicate your level of interest in becoming a certified national cloud provider of remote video interpreter services. 2. Indicate your level of capability to provide national cloud remote video interpreter services. 3. Comment on the proposed high-level business process. 4. Comment on the proposed business requirements. 5. Comment on the proposed technical requirements. 6. Comments on required business case (including start up costs, service fees, and any other helpful data on ROI justifications). 7. Provide any other information that you think will be helpful as COSCA and NCSC move forward on this project. Send responses electronically to: The deadline for responses is: August 30, Tom Clarke Vice President for Research & Technology National Center for State Courts

6 Appendix A Proposed National Interpreter Tiers National Proficiency Designations for Interpreters: Spoken Language Tiers for Languages where an NCSC Oral Exam is Available Tier 1 FCICE; OR NCSC Oral Exam Scores obtained in one test cycle: ST=80% (at least 75% on each ST sub-part); C=80%; S=80%; AND Certified in at least one state Tier 2 NCSC Oral Exam Scores: ST=70% (at least 65% on each ST sub-part); C=70%; S=70%; AND If scores were obtained through an incremental pass system, all passing scores are to have been obtained within a 12-month period AND Certified in at least one state Tier 3 NCSC Oral Exam Scores obtained in one test cycle: ST=60% (at least 55% on each ST sub-part); C=60%; S=60%; AND NCSC Written Exam Score = 80%; AND Completion of a State Court Interpreters' Orientation Tier for Languages where no NCSC Oral Exam is Available Tier A Oral Proficency Interview (OPI) Scores (non-english language): ALTA=12 or LTI=Superior; AND NCSC Written Exam Score = 80%; AND Completion of a State Court Interpreters' Orientation 6

7 DEFINITIONS Explanation of Tier System: Tiers 1, 2 & 3 = tiers for interpreters who interpret in a language where either an abbreviated or full oral exam is available. Tier A = tier for interpreters who interpret in a language where no oral examination exists but an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is available from ALTA or LTI [or other similarly approved entity] Explanation of Tests and Test Administration: Oral Examination = an abbreviated or full oral interpreting test maintained by the NCSC. FCICE = Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination; this test is used by the US Adminstrative Office of the Courts and is considered more difficult than the NCSC oral exam with a pass rate of about 4% nationwide. Written Exam = 135-question multiple choice test maintained by the NCSC ST=Sight Translation; this portion of the NCSC oral exam is comprised of two separate sub-parts whereby a candidate is required to sight translate an Englishlanguage document into the target language and sight translate a non-english document into English. C= Consecutive S=Simultaneous One Test Cycle = oral test administered in full during a one-hour period on the same day Incremental Pass System = the process whereby a test candidate is allowed to retake only those portions of the oral exam s/he did not pass rather than taking the entire oral test again. Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) = an oral test measuring an individual s non- English language skills (not interpreting skills) ALTA = Alta Language Services LTI = Language Testing International Other: State Court Interpreters Orientation = initial training in a state or US territory that includes ethics, legal terminology, and exposure to modes of interpreting. Certified = status conferred upon an individual by a state confirming the individual has attained and continues to maintain the highest credentials offered to court interpreters within the jurisdiction; in addition to passing an oral interpreting exam, being certified typically includes completion of initial and on-going training and in some states a criminal records screening. 7

8 Additional Provisions (from VRI Meeting on 6/28/2013): The NCSC database will indicate the state where the interpreter obtained certification or completed the qualification process. The NCSC database will provide an appendix listing states policies and procedures for certification, including whether a state requires criminal records screening for its court interpreters, and the related policy (if applicable). States are responsible for notifying the NCSC if an interpreter who was certified or qualified in that state and who is listed on the NCSC database has been decertified or has had other disciplinary action taken against him/her making them ineligible to provide court interpreter services in that state. National Proficiency Designations for Interpreters: Sign Language Tier 1 RID Certification: SC:L (Hearing) CLIP-R (Deaf) Tier 2 RID Certification: NIC; CSC; CI/CT; NAD IV or V (Hearing) CDI (Deaf) DEFINITIONS RID = Registry of Interpreters for Deaf; this organization is the entity that tests and certifies sign language interpreters. Most all of the states recognize certification offered by RID. Specialist Certification SC:L = Special Certificate: Legal; this certification is considered a specialist certification offered to hearing interpreters who seek to interpret in court settings. CLIP-R = Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit-Relay; this certification is considered a specialist certification offered to interpreters who are Deaf seeking to interpret in court settings. 8

9 Generalist Certification NIC = National Interpreter Certification; this certification is the primary generalist certification that all sign language interpreters obtain currently. Throughout RID s history, the organization offered different tests and levels of certification that are still recognized as valid even though the tests may no longer be offered (see below): CSC = Comprehensive Skills Certificate; this certification is a fully recognized certification from RID but the test is no longer offered. CI/CT = Certificate of Interpreting/Certificate of Transliteration; this certification is a fully recognized certification from RID but the test is no longer offered. NAD IV or V = National Association of the Deaf; NAD used to offer their own testing separate from RID. In the early to mid-2000s, RID and NAD merged their testing process and now only RID tests and certifies sign interpreters. NAD no longer certifies sign interpreters CDI =Certified Deaf Interpreter; this certification is offered to interpreters who are Deaf. 9

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