Businesses are not required by state law to hire interpreters (Phoenix, Arizona)

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
No requirement May 17, 2010

As far as I am aware, there is no requirement in Arizona or elsewhere for private businesses to provide service in foreign languages. However, those who want the foreign language speaker's clientele and money have no objection to speaking his language. For instance, there are very few businesses where I live (US-Mexico border) where Spanish is not spoken, because they all welcome the clientele. After all, everyone's money helps the bottom line.

 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:15
English to Polish
+ ...
I may need an interpreter 'cause don't get it. May 17, 2010

Gov. Jan Brewer has signed legislation spelling out that nothing in state law requires businesses to provide “trained and competent” interpreters when a customer comes in speaking a language other than English.

What's the point?

I thought that whatever wasn't banned was permitted.

Or whatever wasn't mandated... wasn't mandated.

Or did I miss a new trend in the U.S. lawsuit tradition? The link isn't working. Did a Spanish-speaking wannabe-client actually sue the poor guy?


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 03:15
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Awful May 17, 2010

A Spanish-speaking client did indeed sue because the guy told her that a 12-year old child won't do as an interpreter and she should either come back with an English-speaking adult or go to an optometrist who speaks Spanish.

The link does work for me, maybe it was fixed after your post ( http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2010/05/16/interpreters-not-required ).

Anyway, what that Spanish-speaking lady did was despicable. IMO she was just hoping for easy money from an out of court settlement. I do hope she was obliged to compensate for the optometrist's costs defending his case. It's common sense to go to a business that has staff who speak your language or provide an interpreter yourself...

I'm in Belgium at the moment, should I take the sweet middle-aged lady in the sandwich shop to court with a discrimination charge if she refuses to hire a Hungarian-French interpreter who will help me get my breakfast? No, she speaks some awful English, I speak some even worse French if I must, and we all get along. If I must see a doctor here, I find one that speaks English or bring an interpreter, not a lawyer.

[Edited at 2010-05-17 17:26 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:15
French to German
+ ...
Yes... May 17, 2010

FarkasAndras wrote:
Anyway, what that Spanish-speaking lady did was despicable. IMO she was just hoping for easy money from an out of court settlement. I do hope she was obliged to compensate for the optometrist's costs defending his case. It's common sense to go to a business that has staff who speak your language or provide an interpreter yourself...


that was my impression too.


 

Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
In Arizona even less May 17, 2010

I suppose that with the new racist law that has just been passed in Arizona businesses will worry even less about providing service in Spanish. The potential customer would never dare seek help for fear of being harassed just because he/she speaks Spanish or has a dark complexion, although I am pretty sure that the businesses do welcome the money from any customer.
On the other hand, it is not reasonable to expect businesses to provide service in any language not commonly spoken in the place where they conduct business.


 

Francisco Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ridiculous May 18, 2010

Isn't that the reason why official languages are official?
Of course it most welcomed to enter a shop in a foreing country and find that the cleark speaks your language, but that is far from being an obligation, in Arizona or anywhere in the world.
But that's the American Way of Live From Sues, right?


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:15
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Racist? May 18, 2010

I don't think the new law is racist at all. Everyone who is stopped by the police has to show some form of identification. If you are here illegally, then... AFAIK, immigration laws in Mexico are far stricter.


Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington wrote:

I suppose that with the new racist law that has just been passed in Arizona businesses will worry even less about providing service in Spanish. The potential customer would never dare seek help for fear of being harassed just because he/she speaks Spanish or has a dark complexion, although I am pretty sure that the businesses do welcome the money from any customer.
On the other hand, it is not reasonable to expect businesses to provide service in any language not commonly spoken in the place where they conduct business.


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:15
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Official language May 18, 2010

Francisco Rocha wrote:
Isn't that the reason why official languages are official?


The United States does not have an official language enshrined in law; just a de facto language.


 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:15
Spanish to English
IMHO May 18, 2010

I can't quite understand how a customer could get past first base with a complaint like that.

And Jeff, Is racism ok then if there is another country that is worse? The worst problem with the law is that it legalises the harrassment of US citizens and residents who have the physical appearance of Mexicans and Central Americans. If they leave their house without their ID one day they could easily end up in jail. The other problem of course is that in most places the punishment for immigrating illegally is deportation, not a jail sentence.


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:15
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
People can conduct business in any language they like here May 18, 2010

The lawsuit is ridiculous. There is no shortage of businesses in the U.S. where English-speaking clients have trouble being served, since the staff only speaks Spanish or Chinese or some other language. That's fine: it's a practical reality (in neighborhoods where there are few English speakers) and/or a business decision. People don't generally run around bringing lawsuits because of it.

I'm in favor of linguistic freedom in the private sector, and I favor businesses' right to decide what services they will and won't provide. However, when businesses are nasty or aggressive about their decision to operate in only one language (as occurred with a certain sandwich shop in South Philadelphia), they won't get my business.


 

larserik  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:15
Member (2006)
Albanian to Swedish
A 12 year old can't speak English? Nov 1, 2011

Seems all of you forgot to think of the possibility that the child could have succeeded very well as an interpreter. Maybe with a small extra effort from the optometrist, but in no way impossible.

 


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