Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 24, 2019

WLC Certificate in Translation Students Intern and Translate for MA Legal and Court Institutions

WLC Certificate in Translation Students Intern and Translate for MA Legal and Court Institutions

By Kristine Doll

Part of the training in translation that our students receive includes translating for community agencies, institutions, schools and the court system. We have translated for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office as well as for the Essex County Probate and Family Court. Our current internships at the Probate and Family Court have focused on translating documents that play a significant role in the lives of the residents of Essex County, MA.

In March 2019, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Vinnie Procopio, Operations Supervisor for the Essex County Probate and Family Court. Mr. Procopio works directly with SSU translation students, guiding them through their internship at the Probate Court.

What is the Probate and Family Court and what function does it serve?

The Probate and Family Court is one of the divisions within the Massachusetts Trial Court that handles cases involving families and children, including divorce, paternity, guardianship, estates, adoptions and many more. The Essex County division serves 34 towns and cities throughout the Commonwealth.

How many people need the Probate and Family Court’s services?

The Essex Probate and Family Court takes in over 16,000 cases annually. In addition to the newly filed cases, there are thousands of on-going cases. An average of 300,000 to 400,000 court users enter our building every year.

What languages are used in the Court?

The Trial Court offers translators for any and all languages spoken throughout the world. Our highest volume of languages used throughout the county are Spanish and Portuguese.

Why is it important to have documents translated from English into other languages for the Court to function optimally?

The Trial Court’s mission is “Equal Access to Justice.” The Essex County Register of Probate, Pamela Casey O’Brien, offers multiple outlets of assistance to litigants who are not proficient in English. Court forms and instructions translated from English to other languages are used by litigants. We also offer a “Lawyer of the Day” Program which is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Register has, and continues to use, technology and other forms of assistance to ensure Equal Access to Justice for all.

How long have you been with the Court?

I am currently in my sixth year with the Trial Court.

Would you recommend a career with the Court?

Absolutely! Working in public service can be both challenging and rewarding. The Essex Probate and Family Court prides itself on customer service. Court users can be nervous, afraid, stressed or overwhelmed when entering our building. We understand that the matters we deal with are both personal and important. Our staff takes all of these aspects into consideration when assisting anyone from the public, regardless of the language they speak or how they identify. A career within the Trial Court can be prosperous and rewarding.

How have Salem State University students assisted the Court’s work?

The students from Salem State University have been a tremendous asset to our court. They have translated forms for court users to access during visits to the court house. They have also had the opportunity to shadow some of our Trial Court Translators during a court session. The hard work they have provided to our court will be beneficial to not only the public at large but to our entire staff. We are hoping to have the Salem State University translated forms approved for use state-wide by the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court.

If you are interested in this opportunity to work with the Essex County Probate and Family Court, or any of the other internship and translation possibilities, please contact Dr. Kristine Doll at or (978) 542-6259.

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