How to Become a Court Interpreter

How to Become a Court Interpreter in 2020?

A court interpreter is a member of a legal interpretation serviceCommunication in courtroom proceedings may be very complex. That is why it is important to use an interpreter to ensure that the person fully understands what is being said.

​Why Are Court Interpreters So Important?

Court interpreter work with Limited-English-proficient (LEP), deaf, or hard of hearing persons. It could be witnesses and defendants in criminal courts or witnesses and litigants in civil and family courts.


A court interpreter can also be called out of court during interviews with court support officers, witness preparation sessions, depositions and meetings between attorney and client.

The court interpreter must orally translate everything that is being said while maintaining the specialized and legal terminology, the level and tone of the original language without any addition or omission.

​How Do Court Interpreters Become Certified?

Court Interpreters can earn a State Certification and a Federal Certification. 

  • The State certification allows them to practice interpretation in particular State's Court only. The exams depend on each State's rules but are usually composed of written and oral examination and the interpreter has to affirm compliance with the Code of Conduct of the State's Court.

  • The Federal Court Interpreting Certification Examination (FCICE) allows interpreters to practice in the whole United States and enter the National Court Interpreter Database (NCID). The exam is composed of two phases: written and oral examination.

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