Court Interpreter 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, they 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 in California, contact:

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: Judicial Council of California

For further information on certification in other states, contact:

National Center for State Courts

Licensure & Certification

Please read the Cal State Notice to Students RE: Professional Licensure and Certification.