Becoming a Court Interpreter
A court interpreter is someone who interprets in a civil or criminal court proceeding (e.g., arraignment, motion, hearing, deposition, trial) for a witness or defendant who speaks or understands little or no English. Court interpreters must accurately interpret for individuals with a high level of education and an extensive vocabulary, as well as persons with very limited language skills without changing the language register of the speaker. Interpreters are also sometimes responsible for translating written documents, often of a legal nature, from English into the target language and from the target language into English.
Designation as a certified or registered interpreter indicates that the interpreter has demonstrated competency to interpret in a court setting. Certification is the highest level of formal accreditation. Certified interpreters must pass both written and oral interpreting examinations related to the language with focus on interpreting in a court setting, attend mandatory classes, pass a criminal background check, and take the interpreter oath. Because oral court interpreting examinations are not available in many languages, the Washington Court Interpreter Program offers the credential of Registration to interpreters of other languages. Registered interpreters must pass a foreign language speaking assessment exam in lieu of the oral interpreting examination, and meet all other requirements listed for certified interpreters.
Certified Languages for which certification exams are available: Arabic (Egyptian), Cantonese, French, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Marshallese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese.
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, French, Punjabi and Tagalog are being transitioned from the Registered category to the Certified Category.
Registered Languages: Afrikaans, Akan-Twi, Albanian, Algerian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Baluchi, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cebuano, Chavacano, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Ga, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Igbo, Ilocano, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Krio, Malay, Malayalam, Nepali, Pashto, Persian Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Sindhi, Sinhalese, Slovak, Somoan, Swahili, Swedish, Tajik, Tamil, Tausug, Telugu, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Turkmen, Uighur, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Wolof, Wu, Yoruba.
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