On October 28, 2009, the Korean American Voters’ Council organized and conducted a survey of the Korean interpreters serving during this upcoming General Election. The main purpose of this study was to pinpoint problems and deficiencies the interpreters experienced and to help provide a better language services to the community at the poll sites.
The survey group consisted of 33 currently trained Korean interpreters assigned for this upcoming election.
1. They heard of Korean interpretation in Board of Election through
a. Friends= 18%
b. Korean American Media= 38%
c. Community Organization publicity= 26%
d. Other= 15%
2. Most interpreter’s residences are
in Flushing, Elmhurst, Sunnyside, and etc.,
3. Interpreter’s English proficiency levels are
a. speaking – very good 32%, average 68%, not good 3%
b. reading- very good 35%, average 65%, not good 0%
c. listening- very good 29%, average 65% , not good 0%
4. The interpreter’s understanding standard in election system and voting method was
a. very good. 65%
b. brief but not specific. 35%
c. none. 0%
5. How was the 2 hour training session from Board of Election?
a. The education provided was enough to work as interpreter. 62%
b. The education provided was not enough to work in the election. 21%
c. The education provided was hard to understand. 15%
6. What was the difficulty the Korean voters experience in the poll site?
a. Direction in using the voting machine 24%
b. Confirmation in voter name list 38%
c. Affidavit Ballot 41%
d. Other 18%
7. The time the most Korean voters came to vote was
a. Early Morning (before 9:00am) 24%
b. Morning (9:00~12:00am) 18%
c. Afternoon (12:00~6:00pm) 32%
d. Evening (6:00~9:00pm) 38%
8. How many Korean interpreters were in the same poll site?
Most poll sites have average 1~2 interpreters.
9. On the average, how many Korean voters did the Korean interpreters assist?
In average, interpreters helped around 20 Korean voters.
10. What is the difficulty of working as the interpreter in the poll site?
a. There is no shift rotation while working by themselve, which makes the interpreter difficult to go to bathroom, or even eat lunch.
b. Reporting a journal containing the day work is not easy.
c. The staffs of Board of Election are rude and unfriendly.
11. What does the interpreter wants to say to the Korean American voters?
a. To remember their party in the primary election.
b. Even in very small situation, always ask for help to the interpreters.
c. If the current address is not changed, the voter can change it to affidavit ballot at their designated poll site.
d. Always check the status of their voter registration.
e. Small word of comfort to the hard working interpreters who begin working in the morning 5:30am to 9:00pm.
e. To the voters who comes to their poll site: Please be kind and generous to the interpreters.
Overall, there are still so many interpreters that is needed in the poll sites. Plus, the interpreters themselves are not very fluent in the English language. The interpreters need more accurate understanding in the election system and the voting methods.