Navajo Technical University Starts Election Interpreter Training Program

Jan 23, 2020

Classes begin this weekend for a new translator training program at Navajo Technical University. The goal is to train students how to translate election ballots from English to Diné. KNAU’s Zac Ziegler reports.

Credit AP Photo/Matt York

The new program is in response to a recent federal court finding that mandates some counties on the Navajo Nation provide interpreters at polling places.

Dana Desiderio, an assistant professor at Navajo Technical University, says language barriers can inhibit understanding of voting rights and ballot initiatives.

“If they do know that they should vote, they don’t know what the platforms are or what the measures are, so they come to the polling places uninformed or misinformed.”

In addition to training in comprehensive translation, students will also study ethics and use of neutral language.

The last day to apply for the program is Friday.