Tips for a beginner court interpreter
Thread poster: Maria Degtiarenko

Maria Degtiarenko
Local time: 17:19
English to Spanish
Apr 26, 2012

I just received my badge and certificate to be able to work as a court interpreter. I am very excited but nervous at the same time. I have been to court numerous times and I have been able to observe different types of trials and hearings. I will probably start working very soon, and even though I know what to expect and what to avoid, I am still afraid of making mistakes. Can any experienced interpreter give me advice/tips regarding first assignments?

Thanks in advance,

Maria Degtiarenko


sonjaswenson (X)  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
court interpreting May 24, 2012

always write down words and concepts you don't know and look them up. Bring a good legal glossary and note down pertinent new vocabulary words, bring it with you.

always take notes on what is being said during consecutive.

don't be afraid of the judges or lawyers- they love interpreters who are confident and professional. don't be afraid to stand by your interpretation if a bilingual lawyer or anyone else tries to claim you made a mistake- they are desperate for their case and trying to use a dirty tactic. bilingual judges are your friend (especially in this situation).

maintain an emotional distance from the people you are interpreting for. sometimes family members are there sobbing, sometimes they bring in adorable children to only see their dad dragged in in handcuffs. it is very sad and it is hard to watch. but you can't let them know that if you are going to do your job. pretend it is just a practice course or you are just watching it on tv.


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Tips for a beginner court interpreter

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