Posted on October 29, 2009
On October 28, 2009, the Korean American Voters’ Council (KAVC) organized and held the Korean Interpreter Conference at the Open Center, Korea Village. This conference was organized to gather all Korean interpreters together in one place to share strategies and discuss relevant issues related to working as interpreters on Election. Almost 60 interpreters attended the conference.
During the conference, KAVC outlined the rules and regulations regarding voting rights and interpretation and addressed various tactics to help deal with common problems and issues sure to come up during their service. As part of an ongoing research initiative, KAVC conducted a survey of the interpreters, inquiring about education level, past interpreter experience, and various other voting related topics.
Secretary General Dongchan Kim explained, “Korean Interpreters are most important human service for the Korean community that will increase the voting participation rate.”
In addition to that, he emphasized the importance of being kind and helpful to voters who came, and of helping them vote comfortably.
Currently in New York City, there are 167 poll sites. Out of those, 74 poll sites needs Korean interpreters. However, since not all 170 Korean interpreters can help as interpreters in every election, there is a shortage of about 80 interpreters.
All interpreters work from 5:30am until 9:00pm in their designating poll site. There is also a 2 hours training class before the election, as well. All the interpreters receive $225 ($200+ training bonus $25) pay for working on election day.
Mary DiGiulio and Shirley Lee, interpreter representatives of Queens board of election, attended the conference and had a discussion with the korean interpreters. Korean interpreters requested for a change in long hours of work, and to take action in board of election for the unkindliness of some pollworkers.
Korean American Voter’s Council produced a card introducing the Election Hotline (718-961-4117) and handed out to each interpreters. If, for just an instant, the interpreter witness problems in the pollsites, or felt a racially motivated discrimination incidents at the poll site, the interpreters were strongly recommended to call the KAVC hotline.