Observer writer honored

Dallas Observer staff writer Christine Biederman has been named a winner of the Dallas Bar Association's Stephen H. Philbin Award for her February 25, 1999, story "Lost in translation," which details the controversy surrounding Spanish-language interpreters in the Dallas County courts.

Biederman uncovered evidence that the county's main contractor for court interpreters, Tizoc's Language Consultants, was providing inferior service and, in some instances, double-billing the county for its work. She found that the company frequently employs improperly trained interpreters whose mistakes have resulted in several mistrials. She also reported on a political battle between judges and county commissioners that resulted in the county's underpaying more qualified interpreters.

Biederman won the Philbin award, which recognizes excellence in legal reporting, in the newspaper feature story category.

Other winners included Mark Curriden, a legal-affairs writer for The Dallas Morning News, who won the Philbin Awards' grand prize for his reporting on the controversy surrounding the billion-dollar legal fees in Texas' case against the tobacco manufacturers.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.