How can I become a CERTIFIED Court Interpreter?
Thread poster: Palmyra

Palmyra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:23
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 4, 2002

Where can a person obtain certification for court interpretation? Is there an exam? Is there a program?

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Francis Icaza
United States
Local time: 15:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Certification Mar 5, 2002

Dear Palmyra:

Much depends on where you live and the requirements that particular place under the sun has for the interpreters that work in the courts.

For example, there are several states in the US that have certification requirements and you may sit for the state examination after registering and possibly attending a prior orientation programme that will sometimes last 4 hours over two days. Different venues, different rules.

Other states have no such requirments for interpreters to provide services in court cases to be heard by any given court with the exception of Federal Criminal Court.

Some of the states that require state certification include New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona and others.

States that don´t require certification include FL., MS., GA., and so on. In FL. you may interpet in any court except Federal Criminal, without certification of any kind.

In fact, CA. will not allow an interpreter, even Federally Certified, to interpret in the courts in that state unless said interpreter has State Certification.

The Federal examination is administered on a yearly basis and the custom has been that one takes the written portion this year and the oral the following. Some changes have been made to that procedure and I believe that both portions were offered in the same year last time. Estimates report that 3% of those who sit, receive a passing grade. That may or may not be true, but I have heard that number several times from colleagues.

The US Federal Certification examination is provided for Spanish, Haitian Creole and I believe Navajo, not sure anymore. Other languages, especially exotic languages are treated on a case by case basis by the judges who preside over cases in which say, Sayup is the source language from the witness.

The judge has the discretion in all cases to waive the requirement for a certified interpreter when she or he feels that the non-certified interpreter before them can reliably satisfy the court that she/he has the experience and expertise necessary for the job at hand. Sometimes carrying a customised CV in your briefcase can come in handy.

The Administrator of State Courts in your state will be able to give you indications as to the requirements (if any) you must meet in order to provide service to the courts in your area. That person is usually listed in the blue pages of your phone book.

Certification is an important step for interpreters as it boosts income, reputation and contacts.

If I can be of further assistance, please fell free to contact me as I have additional information that may be of use.

Kindest regards,


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:23
English to Arabic
+ ...
Depends on several factors Mar 5, 2002


Depends on your location (state/country of resdience) and if a certification / accreditation test exists for your particular language pair. Ditto for formal training programs that prepares one for taking and passing a state-level exam.

You might bear in mind that there are varying levels of cross-jurisdictional certifications or recognized accreditations (as based on examples and practice in California).

You might also pose your question on the SCATIA web site BBS at < www. scatia. org >, as number of court-certified / accredited / recognized interpreters circulate and post there.

HTH. Good luck.

Regards from Los Angeles,

Stephen H. Franke

(English Arabic,

Kurdish, and Farsi)

ÍíÑ Çä ÔÇÁ Çááå

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:23
English to German
+ ...
Which court? Which country? Mar 5, 2002

Hi Palmyra,

I guess it would help if you could specify which country this refers to. According to your profile, this would be in the US, right?

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Palmyra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:23
English to Russian
+ ...
Additional Info Mar 5, 2002

Hi everyone,

thank you very much for your replies, this gave me an idea of how it all works. I am actually in Washington DC metropolitan area, and I mostly work in DC and Virginia, not that much in Maryland. Is there anything specific you know about this area?

Speaking of which court - I am not really sure because as I have just started thinking of it I practically have no information at all. I assumed there is one certification for court interpretation which covers everything. How different is it?

All help is greatly appreciated, thanks again!

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