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Do I Need a Foreign Language to Work in Criminal Justice?

Most individuals working in the field of criminal justice aren’t required to know a foreign language. But, there are many ways that a foreign language can be helpful to someone working in the field of criminal justice. For the sake of simplification, we will use Spanish as our second language in this article.

The Ability to Understand and Communicate with Witnesses or Clients

A police officer who learns how to speak Spanish through Rosetta Stone is able to communicate with a Spanish-speaking witness to a crime. The police officer will be able to get an accurate statement from the witness in a short amount of time. If none of the police officers on the scene could speak Spanish, a translator would have to be called which would be an additional expense to the police department.

An attorney who speaks Spanish would be able to meet with a Spanish-speaking client without the assistance of a translator. Also, it’s likely that the client would be more at ease speaking with an attorney who understands Spanish. The attorney could also read documents written in Spanish that may help with the client’s case.

The Ability to Transcribe the Testimony of a Native Spanish Speaker

A court reporter who understands Spanish has the ability to type the testimony of a Spanish witness. In fact, a court reporter with the ability to translate Spanish would have more value in the occupation than a court reporter without that knowledge. A court would save money by having a reporter who understands Spanish.

The Ability to Communicate with Officials in Different Criminal Justice Departments

Sometimes police officers or detectives have to speak with other officials in other police agencies. If a police officer or detective speaks Spanish it would be an easy task to talk with a Spanish-speaking official. The police officer would be sure to get accurate information first-hand. This ensures that the officer or detective would have all of the information he or she needs to proceed with a case or another police matter.

The Ability to Speak with the Relatives of Someone Injured in a Crime

When a person is a victim of a crime it is necessary for a police detective to talk with the person’s family members. If the family members are Spanish-speaking, then it’s useful if the detective knows the language. He or she can help to calm the family members and inform them of what is happening with their loved one. The ability to speak Spanish would also be useful for police officers and attorneys who need to communicate with the family.

The Ability to Communicate with Spanish-Speaking Children

Finally, police officers often travel to elementary schools to talk with young students about practicing safety in their daily lives. A police officer who speaks Spanish would be able to talk with Spanish-speaking students as well as native English speakers. This way an entire group of students would benefit from the police officer’s visit.

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