Spanish/English Interpretation (Legal/Court)

Start your career as a legal/court interpreter or a medical interpreter. Our online courses will prepare you for the California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam, the Consortium Exam or the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) Exam.

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Interpretation Curriculum

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Online Courses

How Do Online Classes Work?

Learn more about our online interpretation training in this introductory video featuring program director and faculty member Eric Bishop.

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Interpreter Career Paths

The Importance of Certification

Whether you choose a career as a court interpreter or a medical interpreter, it is important to become certified. Certification provides professional legitimacy and the ability to earn higher wages.

A recommended strategy is to become medically certified halfway through the program in order to gain experience and start earning wages as you continue with your training for the court interpreter exam.

Medical Interpretation

With our free Medical Interpretation course, you can prepare for work as a medical interpreter. This optional online course prepares students to take the NBCMI Medical Interpreter Certificate Exam. The free Medical Interpretation course has three prerequisites: MLL 400, MLL 401 and MLL 403.

  • Salary: In California, medical interpreting salaries range from approximately $45,000 to $70,000.
  • Difficulty: The medical interpreter oral exam of the NBCMI tests for sight translation (English-to-Spanish) and for consecutive interpretation. It is less difficult than the court certification exam.
  • Role: The role of the medical interpreter goes beyond accurate and complete interpretation. A medical interpreter may be a patient advocate and intercultural mediator.
  • Certification Exam: There are several requirements to take the NBCMI medical interpreter written and oral exams, among them proof of oral proficiency in both languages and medical interpreter education. The total cost of the exams is $450.
  • Careers: Explore Medical Interpreter Careers
  • Learn More: Medical Interpretation Online Course

Court Interpretation

The SF State online Spanish/English Interpretation program is designed to prepare students to pass the California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam and the National Center for State Courts (Consortium) Exam.

  • Cost: Approximately $3,782 (including texts)
  • Length: 15 - 22 months
  • Salary: In California, court interpreting salaries range from approximately $76,000 to $92,000.
  • Difficulty: The court interpreter oral exam tests for sight translation (English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English), consecutive interpretation, and simultaneous interpretation. The court interpreter oral exam is more difficult than the medical interpreter oral exam.
  • Role: The role of the court interpreter is limited to accurate and complete interpretation. A court interpreter must never be an advocate or an intercultural mediator.
  • Certification Exam: There are no requirements to take the court interpreter written and oral exams. The total cost of the exams is $340.
  • Careers: See Legal/Court Interpretation Careers
  • More about Court Interpretation

Cost and Length

Medical Interpretation
Cost: $1,991 (including texts)  |  Length: 12 - 20 Months  |  When to Start: Fall, Spring, Summer

Legal and Court Interpretation
Cost: $3,782 (including texts)  |  Length: 15 - 22 Months  |  When to Start: Fall, Spring, Summer


Financial Aid

SF State Extended Learning receives no state money to support its programs; therefore, Federal Financial aid is extremely limited. In order to be eligible for Federal Financial Aid, you must have completed 60 units or 90 quarter units, plus the Bilingual Exam prior to your acceptance into the program. Financial aid is only available in the fall and spring semesters. Students should start the financial aid application process as soon as possible. Note: Financial Aid is not available in your first semester of this program.

For further information, see our financial aid section, and go to the SF State Financial Aid site. For financial aid questions, please contact:

Financial Aid
(415) 338-7000

Students who don't qualify for federal financial aid or have conditional acceptance into the program, can finance their program through the Alternative Loan Program.



As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, CalJOBS provides connections to customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. SF State is an approved provider for WIOA funds. SF State is listed on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) on the CalJOBS website. Search on Keyword: SF State College of Extended Learning.

What Students Say

Angelica Ortiz-Cichocki

Angelica Ortiz-Cichocki

"It was impressive to see how effective the program is at conveying topics online…"

Liliana Perdomo, Spanish/English Interpretation Graduate

Liliana Perdomo

"I liked having teachers who work as court interpreters…"

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