Thank you for your interest in becoming a certified court interpreter. The Administrative Office of the Courts currently certifies language interpreters in the following languages: Arabic (Egyptian), Cantonese, French, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Marshallese, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese
Written Exam: The written exam was developed by the National Center for State Courts Consortium on State Court Interpreting. Candidates for all languages take the exam at the same time. This proficiency exam includes English language vocabulary, court related terms and ethics. You must pass the written exam with a score of 80% or better.
Oral Exam: The oral exam was developed by the National Center for State Courts Consortium on State Court Interpreting, who also coordinates rating. The exam consists of three sections: sight translation, consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting. The exam is recorded via audio tape and is scored by language professionals recruited nationally. You must pass the oral exam with a score of 70% or better in all three sections.
Certified Accreditation: Candidates must complete the following before receiving accreditation as a certified court interpreter: 1) pass the written exam administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) with a score of 80% or better; 2) attend a one-day orientation program sponsored by the AOC; 3) pass the oral exam administered by the AOC with a score of at least 70% in each section; 4) submit to a fingerprint background check (processing fee applies); 5) attend a mandatory class sponsored by the AOC on topics that include, but are not limited to, courtroom protocol, interpreter ethics, and legal terminology and procedure; 6) execute the Oath of Interpreter; and 7) obtain interpreter ID badge for court proceedings.
Reciprocity: (a) Interpreters certified by the Oregon Court Interpreter Certification Program or the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination Program may become certified by the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts upon: (1) providing formal written documentation of certification status; (2) providing a letter from the certification program stating that the interpreter is in good standing; (3) submitting to a fingerprint background check; (4) executing the Oath of Interpreter, and (5) obtaining an interpreter ID badge from the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts.
(b) Interpreters who have taken and passed the oral certification exam developed by the Consortium for State Court Interpreter Certification, but administered by another state court interpreter program under the same testing standards used by the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts, or interpreters who have taken and passed the oral certification exam developed by the California Administrative Office of the Courts, may become Washington certified upon (1) providing written documentation of passing the oral certification exam from the administering state; (2) passing the Washington Court Interpreter Program written exam; (3) attending a mandatory class on the Introduction to Court Interpreting, provided by the Washington Administrative Office of the Courts, and (4) meeting requirements three through five in paragraph (a) above. The Washington Court Interpreter Program reserves the right to reject oral certification exam test scores for individuals who passed the exam more than four years prior to application for certification in Washington and have subsequently performed little or no court interpreting.
(c) Interpreters certified under provisions (a) or (b) above are subject to all Washington Certified Court Interpreter requirements for continuing certification, including continuing education.
Compliance Requirements: At the completion of each two-year compliance period, interpreters must complete and submit the following: 16 continuing education credits (2 of which must be ethics); 20 hours of courtroom interpreting; a declaration regarding personal conduct; and a signed, sworn oath stating that the interpreter will uphold the Code of Conduct for Court Interpreters.
Employment: Court interpreters are hired individually by each superior, district, and municipal court. There are varying numbers of certified court interpreters in different areas of the state, so explore employment opportunities by contacting your local courts before you decide whether to take the exam. Contact information for certified court interpreters is placed on the courts website at www.courts.wa.gov/programs_orgs/pos_interpreter.
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