Despite the high concentration of Plain identifying people in Lancaster County, and in Pennsylvania at large, the PA Judicial System's Interpreter Program has found significant difficulty in finding interpreters for Pennsylvania Dutch, the language first learned in many Plain Communities. Even when interpreters are found, they are usually not well versed in the cultural practices and religious beliefs of the members of Plain Communities.
In response to this need, Safe Communities has begun working with the Court's Interpreter Program to bring Plain folks into the program to translate for their own community members. Because many Plain people only have an 8th grade education, the examination that is required for certification to be an interpreter is very challenging. Through study groups and collaborative work with other organizations including the YWCA of Lancaster, Safe Communities will offer Study Groups in which people who speak PA Dutch fluently can prepare for the examination together.
Our intention is to provide interpreters to the Court System who can meet the current needs of the community with expertise and cultural competence.
Although the Introductory Workshop has passed, we intend to continue this program into the future. If you, or someone you know is fluent in PA Dutch, and would like to take part, please contact us at 717-560-9989, or email us at email@example.com.