Letters

Language gap
I had just finished reading a Web page release concerning the state of Idaho's recent certification of six Spanish-language interpreters after their having passed a test given by the national Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification when a friend e-mailed me about Ms. Christine Biederman's thought-provoking article ["Lost in translation," February 25].

Dallas County's problems underscore Texas' need for professional court-interpreting standards. Her article mentions California's certification program. Our next-door neighbor, New Mexico, also has a certification program for court interpreters.

Just one correction: The rate paid by the U.S. Courts to federally certified court interpreters for in-court proceedings is $135 per half-day and $250 per whole day, not $280 as reported.

Your focus on these issues will serve to raise consciousness in the community and benefit all those who require interpretation in pursuit of their constitutional rights, no matter their language or ethnic background.

Michael Mahler
U.S. Certified Court Interpreter
Dallas

My compliments on your lengthy piece about court interpreting. Please note, however, that the story talks exclusively about interpreting, the job of puddle-jumping between languages aloud. When you do it in writing and on paper, then that's translating.

May one of your county commissioners someday run afoul of the law in a country whose language isn't English and have to make do with the sort of interpreting foisted on non-English speakers in the Dallas courts.

Chandler Thompson
Interpreter, U.S. Court
Las Cruces, New Mexico

There you go again
Robert Wilonsky is at it again, trashing all things popular. Now before we get too far, let me start by stating that I am not a particularly huge Pat Green [Music listings, February 11] fan, but I have to say that as usual, Wilonsky's assessment of Green's talent, as well as his witty musings on other Texas artists such as Robert Earl Keen, Jack Ingram, and Jerry Jeff Walker, were completely absurd, bordering on ridiculous.

If there's one thing I have come to realize about Robert Wilonsky, it is that he hates anything that makes the transformation from obscure to accessible. Unfortunately, this attitude runs rampant in the media these days. This "if the public has heard of it, it can't be worthy" back-slapping among so-called music journalists makes me want to vomit blood. Now Wilonsky is extolling the greatness of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco ["The only one," February 25], of which I am a fan. Rest assured, however, that the first time Wilonsky pulls up to a red light on Lower Greenville on his way to drink coffee and pull on the goatees of some of his "we're smarter than the rest of you" ilk and hears "Casino Queen" pouring out of the speakers of a black Ford Explorer driven by an SMU kid with a Tried and True Warrior sticker on his back window, he will immediately race to his laptop and whip up a scathing commentary about how Jeff Tweedy doesn't deserve to change the strings on Jay Farrar's guitar.

So why don't you do us all a favor, Robert: Take some time off, and hang around the house so you can catch up on the Alan Alda movies you missed last year, gaze longingly at your autographed Rhett Miller photo (whom you will undoubtedly be ripping after Fight Songs is released), and listen to your boxed set of Ned's Atomic Dustbin. After a couple of weeks of some well-earned R&R, drop by the Gypsy Tea Room, and my friends and I might even buy you a cold Shiner Bock.

Dennis A. Lokey
Via e-mail

I really liked your piece on Pat Green. That summed up exactly the point I have been trying to get across to a few of my frat-boy friends lately. It's the beer, not the music, that gets them to the shows. I can't think of one worthy musical quote from Pat Green as of yet. His "best" songwriting is yet to come, but it's going to be a few more painful years before we hear his musical maturity. I love George's Bar--it's a 360 compared to Dancehall Dreamer, and I think you should take another listen to the CD, and you'll hear the growth.

A lot of Pat's sound is Lloyd Maines. Pat's first CD was all Lloyd Maines. I think he's trying to find an edge, but it's hard for him to do it. He's just a plain nice guy who writes nice songs about Texas. Give him credit for being himself in this day and age of over-produced, junkie-laced commercial pop music. That goes for country too.

Anonymous
Via e-mail

You completely failed to notice Pat Green's songwriting skills or the fact that he's doing all of this because he's having the time of his life. Is he as good as his fans seem to think? Who cares? He's managed to string together three quality albums that have sold in very high volume considering he doesn't have a major label promoting him. So he's obviously not an overnight sensation.

Maybe you're simply the kind of "critic" who is only interested in getting attention, and the best way to do that is to rip a popular act. Maybe you just wonder why you couldn't have been the one to stand on stage in front of hundreds of people while they applaud you. If that's the case, I'll answer your question: It's because you didn't have the guts to try.

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