Many Massachusetts court interpreters intend to stage a walk-out next month from February 2 to February 10 in an effort to receive a pay increase from the state.

Currently, certified interpreters receive a per diem payment of $300 for a full day at the courthouse and $200 for half a day.  Screened interpreters—who are approved to translate at court proceedings but not fully certified—receive $200 for a full day’s work and $125 for a half day.

There are approximately 157 interpreters who work for the Mass. Trial Court Office of Language Access (OLA).  Of that number, only 65 are full-time employees.  The remaining 92 interpreters work on per diem basis.

According to Masslive,

An email to the media from a certified per diem Spanish interpreter in Massachusetts says around 20 to 25 per diem interpreters will be walking out from February 6 through February 10.

Though, those who do “walkout” will have the option of working via Zoom.

Speaking with a reporter at Masslive, one per diem interpreter, Gemma Schaff, said that Massachusetts interpreters should receive payments that at least match those of interpreters in federal court:

she would like to see per diem interpreters’ compensation be parallel to that of what federal interpreters make. At the beginning of this month, the current rate for interpreters increased to $556 for a full day for federally certified interpreters, $320 for a half day for federally certified interpreters and $80 per hour for overtime. At the federal level, professionally qualified interpreters make $495 for a full day, $280 for a half day and $70 per hour for overtime.