Legal Advice on Protecting the Right of ethnic minority migrants in Urban Areas to Use Their Own Ethnic Language in Litigation
September 28,2016   By:chinahumanrights.org
Cairangwangxiu (photo: Zhao Yifan)

Legal Advice on Protecting the Right ofethnic minority migrants in Urban AreastoUse Their Own Ethnic Language in Litigation
 Lecturer of Southwest University for Nationalities 
With the rapid marketization and urbanization of China since the reform and opening-up policy was adopted, the population of ethnic minority migrants hasbeen experiencing a sustained and rapidgrowth, which poses new challenges and put forward new requirements for judicial organs in urban areas to protectethnic minority migrantsto usetheir ownethniclanguages, specifically including the following aspects: firstly, more such cases have come into the judicial proceedings; secondly, higher-quality translation are needed in the cases involving ethic minorities;thirdly, various dialects of ethic migrants make it difficultbut still necessary to work out unified translation standards; fourthly, the language issue has become a barrier to hindering judicial justice.At present, the judicial authorities, when facing the increasing numbers of lawsuits involving ethnic minority migrants, have made use of their resources to take measures to guarantee the minorities’ right, to a great extent, to participate in litigationusing their own ethnic languages and thereby maintain judicial justice. But meanwhile, the existing weak points cannot be ignored,e.g., judicial authorities do not have adequate bilingual legal professionals who are proficient inboth Mandarin Chinese and one or more ethnic minority language. As a result, the translation process is not professional enough, and consequently it is hard to establish unified translation standards. In view of this, this paper put forward the following advice to guarantee the ethnic minority migrants’ right to use their own language in litigation: measures should be taken in three respects, namely, judicial mechanism, procedures and structures,so as to improve the quality of legal translation, including to set up a recruitment system for bilingual professionals, draw up laws and policies to professionalize translation process and establish a talent pool, so as to cultivate professional translators systematically. To put it specifically, firstly, the judicial system should be further improve. Efforts should be made to specify the rights and obligations of translators, set up an accountability system, put forward employment policies intended to guarantee that the judicial authorities are well equipped with necessary judicial personnel, draw up funding policies to subsidize translation agencies primarily engaged in providing judicial translation from and into ethnic minority languages, and establish a certification and registration system for judicial translators between Chinese and minority ethnic languages. Secondly, in order to advance the training of competent translators, a systematic and sufficient training program should be createdto expand the scope of the bilingual training programsinvolving judiciary staff. Finally, legal terms in ethnic minority  languages and standard vocabulary must be unified and standardized in three respects, firstly formulate laws and regulations to standardize minority language used in the field of judicial prosecution; second, give full play to the role of the translation departments and research institutions; third, attach importance to feedback based on judicial practices.
Key words: Ethnic Minority Migrants; the Right to Use One’s Native Language in Litigation; Bilingual Legal Professionals; JudicialTranslation 
Cairangwangxiu, Lecture, Southwest University