LITTLE ROCK Arkansas says it now has the nation’s first certified Marshallese court interpreter.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah swore in Melisa Laelan as a certified interpreter during a ceremony Thursday in Little Rock.
Arkansas has the second-largest population of people from the Marshall Islands in the continental U.S., with more than 4,000 people from the small Pacific island nation living in the northwest part of the state.
Hannah said that after Spanish, Marshallese is the second-most-requested language in the state courts.
Hannah says Laelan of Springdale has been “indispensable” to the courts, taking on nearly all of the Marshallese interpreting requests for the past few years.
He said Laelan interpreted in more than 800 cases last year.
Hannah also swore in two new certified Spanish court interpreters.