Spanish/English Interpretation: Career Information

A Court Interpreter's Vital Role

The primary role of a state certified court interpreter is to interpret for defendants or witnesses in superior court (criminal, civil and juvenile proceedings), and for depositions. Court assignments include arraignments, preliminary hearings and all aspects of trials through and including sentencing. Examples of duties include interpreting intense cross-examinations and complex jury instructions; statements by judges, attorneys, and expert witnesses who frequently use legal and technical terminology; and language that may seem graphic or offensive. Interpreters must precisely, accurately and completely interpret for individuals with a high level of education and an expansive vocabulary as well as persons with very limited language skills while preserving the complete meaning of the source language utterances. Interpreters are also responsible for sight translating written documents, often of a legal nature, from English into Spanish and vice versa.

Judicial Council of California

Legal/Court Interpretation Career Opportunities

Interpreter examinations are mandated for employment in courts and state agencies. Once an interpreter passes the California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam or the National Center for State Courts (Consortium) Exam, s/he will be able to work in the state courts and freelance for state agencies, health organizations, private companies, law firms, and interpreting agencies.

This program is specifically designed to prepare students to pass the California Court Bilingual Interpreter Exam and the National Center for State Courts (Consortium) Exam. While academic training does not guarantee work, it is a highly regarded reference.

NOTE: The academic certificate earned from this program does NOT authorize participants to use the designation "Certified Court Interpreter."

For further information on the profession and certification, contact:

Judicial Council of California
Administrative Office of the Courts
"Court Interpreter Program"
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: 1.866.310.0689
Web: Judicial Council of California

 

Court Interpreter Profession FAQ

Yes. In addition, while some attorneys in private practice still use interpreters who are not state certified in depositions and interviews, this practice is becoming less common.
Many positions with the USCIS do not require certification from the state; however the USCIS may institute its own exam in the near future.
Yes, this program was designed specifically with the state court interpreter's examination in mind, and all faculty are certified federal and state court interpreters. While completion of this program is no guarantee of success on the state examination, it should be of great assistance.
NOTE: In some cases academic study only may not be sufficient to raise language skills to the level needed to pass state and federal examinations on the first attempt. Additional intensive language practice for a period of time may be necessary.
Read as much as possible and as widely possible in both English and Spanish, including good novels, plays, newspapers and magazines. Articles about government and the criminal justice system are also recommended. Read Spanish periodicals directly from Spanish-speaking countries rather than ones from the United States, where styles are heavily influenced by English. Also, take every opportunity to speak Spanish and English in a wide variety of settings.
It will help for possible employment with social service agencies, hospitals, private attorneys for depositions and client interviews, and business firms with international clientele
Judicial Council of California
Administrative Office of the Courts
"Court Interpreter Program"
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (866) 310-0689
Web: California Court Interpreter Program
Email: courtinterpreters@jud.ca.gov

 

CA Court Interpreter Program
Prometric
1260 Energy Lane
St. Paul, MN 55108
(866) 241-3118 (United States and Canada)
+1 (651) 647-1723 (International)
Web: Prometric

Judicial Council of California
Administrative Office of the Courts
"Court Interpreter Program"
455 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 866.310.0689
Web: California Court Interpreter Program
Email: courtinterpreters@jud.ca.gov