Bill would require language translations for some private contracts
The bill received unanimous support from the committee and now moves to a full vote in the Senate. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)
A new bill approved by a Senate committee would require certain contracts to be translated into the language they were negotiated in.
The bill, S4238, would extend to some motor vehicle contracts, consumer loans, rental contracts and leases, foreclosures, and contracts for legal services.
Under the legislation, if two people negotiated the sale of a car in Korean, the contract laying out the terms would be required to be translated into Korean.
“It ought to be in a language people understand so they’re able to comfortably sign on a dotted line, so it’s what they understand it to be,” said state Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), prime sponsor of the bill and chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, which heard the bill Monday.
More than 30% of New Jerseyans speak a language other than English at home, according to the Census Bureau. New Jersey also has one of the highest percentage of limited English proficiency at 42.5%, the Migration Policy reports.
Sean Neafsey, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, testified Monday that some residents with limited understanding of English are susceptible to predatory practices and fraud.
“Collectively, these things will give all consumers with a limited English proficiency better access to the marketplace,” he said.
Committee member Sen. Nicolas Scutari said the measure is a “laudable idea,” but stressed that often the boilerplate language in these contracts is difficult enough to understand in English.
“There’s information no one reads, and it’s in really small font, and it might as well be in a different language,” he said.
The bill received unanimous support from the committee and now moves to a full vote in the Senate. It has yet to be heard by an Assembly committee.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.