Getting started in interpreting
Thread poster: Nikolaus Halter

Nikolaus Halter  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:40
English to German
+ ...
Oct 1, 2004

Does anyone know how to become a certified interpreter in the US for German-English, English-German. Do people generally only hire certified interpreters?



ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
German to English
+ ...
No Oct 1, 2004

People do not only hire certified interpreters.

I believe the courts certify interpreters, although I have never heard of certification for English/German. Other than that I am not aware of any organization or authority that certifies interpreters (let alone English/German interpreters) in the US.

[Edited at 2004-10-01 15:30]


teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
It's different for different languages Oct 1, 2004

Nick, I'm a certified Spanish court interpreter. I am state certified (Texas and New Mexico) and Federally certifed. Each state has their own regulations regarding certification. For example, in Texas, you must use a "licensed" interpreter for depositions and in court. The laws changed in January of 2002. I live near the border with New Mexico, and over there, they don't require a certification, anyone can call himself an interpreter. They have something called "qualified interpreters", now, who decides who's qualified is not clear. As a qualified interpreter, they will pay you half of the state rate.
We do not have a license for German interpreters in Texas or New Mexico, I don't know of any state that does. The federal certification is currently given in three languages only, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Navajo. But I do know a German court interpreter who works in Federal court as a qualified interpreter.

The Court Interpreters Act of 1978 require the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC) to define the criteria for certifying interpreters qualified to work in federal courts. For more information, I've attached a link below. I also suggest that you call the courts in the city that you live in, ask for the intepreter's office, and get information about how to get started. Check out if there is a local interpreters and translators association and join. There is also NAJIT, (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators). ATA (American Translators Association) also has an interpretation division.

It's a great job, I love what I do. I encourage you to pursue your interest in the profession!

Federal Court Interpreter Information Sheet
... The use of competent federal court interpreters in proceedings involving speakers
of languages other than English is critical to ensure that justice is carried ... - 9k


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Confirmed Oct 2, 2004

I can only confirm the information given by my good friend and colleague Teju, for we are residents of the same city having the same languages and certification (EnglishSpanish).

However, I would emphasize as others have mentioned, that there is no certification at all for German; at least none that I am aware of. Therefore it would be best for you to obtain some sort of credentials in Germany that could serve in increasing your credibility. We do have a German colleague in our city who is well regarded and does have certification from the German government, though I do not recall whether that is for translation, interpreting or both.

It is not required anywhere but it does help you establish yourself with clients.

Interpreting on a "qualified" but non-certified basis in the Federal Courts does not pay very well at all if you have to take their rates. Your only course would be to take jobs paid for privately by clients where you could charge your own rates.

You would also need to find a market in the US where there is a steady need for your services in areas such as conferences, meetings, seminars, business dealings, etc. with German speakers.


surprise Oct 16, 2004

I just felt quite surprise why there wasn't English-Chinese or English-Japanese??


Kathi Stock  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Licensed court interpreters for German do exist in Texas! Sep 12, 2007

[quote]teju wrote:

We do not have a license for German interpreters in Texas

I am a licensed court interpreter for the State of Texas for German!

In fact, there are several languages for which the State of Texas issues a license to qualified interpreters.



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