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Becoming a Court Interpreter in different states and countries
Thread poster: Alexandra Goldburt
Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 05:48
English to Russian
+ ...
Jan 1, 2009

Happy New Year to all my colleagues!

I'm a Court Certified Russian Interpreter in California, and I'm currently working on getting my Spanish certification.

I'm curious to know: how do you become a Court Interpreter in other states in the US, as well as other countries?

I know that many states (in the U.S.) have an exam very similar to the one in California, but many do not. How do you get to work as an interpreter in the courts in states without the exam?

And I also would like to hear from court interpreters living outside of the US, or from those who are interested in the profession. What do you need to do to become a court interpreter where you live?

Thanks in advance for your answers.


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Christina Courtright  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reciprocity & exam criteria vary by State in the US Jan 1, 2009

Hi Alexandra and Happy New Year to all!
For the US, you would contact the coordinator of court interpreter certification in each state and ask about:
1) reciprocity arrangements (most, but not all, would probably take the Californa cert as it's so rigorous), and
2) any other requirements they may have for out of state.
Here is the link to those coordinators by state, updated October 2008:
http://www.ncsconline.org/D_Research/CIConsortContactspage.html
Regards,
Christina


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Londonlinguist
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
DPSI qualification here... Jan 1, 2009

Hi Alexandra,

A couple of months ago I posted a query about self-study for the DPSI (Diploma in Public Service Interpreting) here in the UK. I remember that you were one of the people who replied to me at the time with some useful advice.
Anyway, as far as I am aware there is not actually an equivalent for the state certification to become a court interpreter here in the UK. There may be various paths to becoming one although the main one I am familiar with (and the path I intend to follow) is to complete the DPSI qualification in English Law (it is also offered in Health / Local Government / Scottish Law.) I understand that with this qualification I would be entitled to apply to the National Register of Public Service Interpreters and furthermore I could work as an Interpreter in the courts/Police stations/Immigration advisory etc. There is a Prison Service add-on which holders of the DPSI Law option can take at a later date although I do not believe that this is compulsory.
As this is an Institute of Linguists diploma (equivalent to first degree level) it is a respected Public Service qualification. Alternatively I have seen a couple of MA programmes on offer here in the UK (Interpreting) although I don't believe that they deal exclusively with court Interpreting. A colleague of mine who studied on one of these courses told me that he covered various specialist topics but at that time the MA on offer was a generic MA Interpreting. I have been told that London Metropolitan University now offer (or are about to offer) a Master's degree in Public Service Interpreting and I suspect that as Law is so central to Public Service Interpreting areas such as legal/court interpreting will feature greatly in the syllabus.
I hope I have given you a small flavour of the situation here in the UK. I'm sure that fellow ProZians from the UK will have other interesting information to add.

Happy New Year to you too!


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 05:48
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Christina. Jan 2, 2009

Christina Courtright wrote:

Hi Alexandra and Happy New Year to all!
For the US, you would contact the coordinator of court interpreter certification in each state and ask about:
1) reciprocity arrangements (most, but not all, would probably take the Californa cert as it's so rigorous), and
2) any other requirements they may have for out of state.
Here is the link to those coordinators by state, updated October 2008:
http://www.ncsconline.org/D_Research/CIConsortContactspage.html
Regards,
Christina


Thank you for this information, Christina. The website indeed contains a lot of useful information.

I noticed, however, that it lists only 39 states. Arizona, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Montana and some other states are missing from the list. Can it be that those states don't have an exam? Do you happen to know how do you become an interpreter in states without one?

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 05:48
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, London Linguist! Jan 2, 2009

Londonlinguist wrote:

Hi Alexandra,

A couple of months ago I posted a query about self-study for the DPSI (Diploma in Public Service Interpreting) here in the UK. I remember that you were one of the people who replied to me at the time with some useful advice.
Anyway, as far as I am aware there is not actually an equivalent for the state certification to become a court interpreter here in the UK. There may be various paths to becoming one although the main one I am familiar with (and the path I intend to follow) is to complete the DPSI qualification in English Law (it is also offered in Health / Local Government / Scottish Law.) I understand that with this qualification I would be entitled to apply to the National Register of Public Service Interpreters and furthermore I could work as an Interpreter in the courts/Police stations/Immigration advisory etc. There is a Prison Service add-on which holders of the DPSI Law option can take at a later date although I do not believe that this is compulsory.
As this is an Institute of Linguists diploma (equivalent to first degree level) it is a respected Public Service qualification. Alternatively I have seen a couple of MA programmes on offer here in the UK (Interpreting) although I don't believe that they deal exclusively with court Interpreting. A colleague of mine who studied on one of these courses told me that he covered various specialist topics but at that time the MA on offer was a generic MA Interpreting. I have been told that London Metropolitan University now offer (or are about to offer) a Master's degree in Public Service Interpreting and I suspect that as Law is so central to Public Service Interpreting areas such as legal/court interpreting will feature greatly in the syllabus.
I hope I have given you a small flavour of the situation here in the UK. I'm sure that fellow ProZians from the UK will have other interesting information to add.

Happy New Year to you too!


Yes, I remember your question, and my answer to it, too. I'm very glad that you found it helpful.

You certainly have given me some flavor of the situation across the Atlantic!

I certainly hope you are successful in your studies, whether in a university or on your own. I hope to see a post from you one day where you'll announce that you have passed the exam!

Best wishes for the New Year!


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Christina Courtright  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not all states have certification Jan 2, 2009

Not all states in the US have a court interpreter certification program. Many highly professional and ethical interpreters from those states get certified in other states - but many others just interpret in their local courts because they think they can. Yet others are patiently waiting for their states to get the certification program going; meanwhile, they work on their skills and attend conferences.

Logically, if a state doesn't require court interpreters to be certified or qualified or otherwise show evidence of training in skills, ethics, and protocol, then you will find all sorts of people interpreting in those courts. In these cases, absent a law requiring certification, the key is to educate and incentivize judges to select certified interpreters whenever possible. That is the case here in Indiana. There are not enough certified interpreters to go around, so you can't make it a requirement. And while we're busy training and examining candidates to increase the pool of certifieds, courts are also being offered $$ incentives by the state government to use certified interpreters.

So in sum, if you plan to interpret in a state that doesn't have a certification program (yet), the only recourse is to visit the courts in your area and convince them that you have the chops. A certification from another state would certainly help, but it's no guarantee, as far as I've seen.


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:48
German to English
+ ...
Germany Jan 2, 2009

The situation in Germany is very much regulated.
There is an official list published by the main court (Landgericht) in each of the federal states listing the approved translators/interpreters. Being on the list means that you can be called to interpret in courts, or that you can translate and certify official documents (such as birth certificates etc.). As far as the courts are concerned, no distinction is made between interpreting and translation (and the words are often confused).
I actually get called to court cases here in Berlin about once or twice a year, and I probably get about 10-15 documents per year that require my official stamp and certification. But being on this list also helps me to get other jobs (e.g. from lawyers).

I was approved for the list and sworn in after I passed the examination as a "State examined translator", which is an examination held by an examining board in most federal states. I did not have to enroll in any courses to do this examination - there are language schools which offer preparatory classes, but I did not do any. But I did have to show that I had relevant qualifications (in my case a general language degree and work experience in education) and translating experience before they would admit me to the exam.
University degrees in translation are also accepted by the "Landgericht".
In some federal states, extra qualifications are needed before translators/interpreters are sworn in (e.g. extra courses on the German legal system).

In theory, judges can admit interpreters who have not gone through this process as interpreters in individual cases, but I believe this is very rare (and only for languages for which the list of court-approved interpreters offers no names or insufficient names).

I have seen discussions on translating forums about whether translators who are not formally approved by the courts can certify translations on the basis of their general translating competence and experience. Opinions are divided on this - some claim that it is OK to give a general certification (even including a business stamp) as long as it does not purport to be a certification for court purposes, others claim that this would get translators into trouble with the courts (and one person quoted a case in which a court had issued a warning to a translator).


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:48
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Germany II Jan 2, 2009

The situation here varies quite a lot from state to state. An overview prepared by the translators' association ADÜ Nord can be found at:

http://www.adue-nord.de/archiv/landervergleich-beeidigung-2008-09.pdf

For example, Victor's statement about university degrees in translation being accepted as a qualification by the courts is true in a number of German federal states, but not all. Bavaria accepts only state exams like he took.


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:48
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Federal certification Jan 2, 2009

I notice you're interested in certification in Spanish. There is a federal examination that is similar to, but distinct from, California state certification. More about that program at http://www.uscourts.gov/interpretprog/interp_prog.html .

If you haven't done so already, I recommend you visit the web site for the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT). The URL is http://www.najit.org .


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Londonlinguist
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
You may also find this website interesting... Jan 2, 2009

I am aware of the Association of Police and Court Interpreters (UK) and post a link to the website here:

http://www.apciinterpreters.org.uk/

" A substantial majority of members are registered public service interpreters with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI)...having been vetted and checked by the authorities. Others are public service interpreters with different qualifications. Many are also members of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL) and/or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)."

Hope this helps.

London Linguist


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Londonlinguist
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks Alexandra... Jan 2, 2009

Many thanks for your encouraging words. I am still preparing for the DPSI exam and I have taken note of all the advice offered on ProZ. I am not enrolled on any course and plan to keep studying by myself although at times I would really love to be on a course, if only to meet other like-minded budding interpreters!
This is why I am so grateful to ProZ as I certainly don't feel alone once I log on here!

I look forward to reading about other experiences across the world re: Court Interpreting.

LL


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 05:48
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks! Jan 3, 2009

Many thanks to Christina, Victor, Kevin, Paul and Jade Sylvia for very interesting information and links!

May you all have a very successful New Year!

If somebody want to enlighten me of what the process is in the parts of the world not mentioned here, I´m all ears...


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empowerlingua
Local time: 13:48
Court interpreter Jan 21, 2011

Try to register your CV with empowerlingua they specialized on court interpreter and they give you advice on your career

[Uređeno u 2011-01-21 15:50 GMT]


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