Candidates must complete the following before receiving accreditation as a certified court interpreter:
- Pass the written examination administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts with a score of 80% or better.
- Attend a one-day orientation program sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
- Pass the oral examination administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts with a score of at least 70% in each section.
- Submit a completed fingerprint card (available from law enforcement) and application fee to the AOC. (The AOC will submit the fingerprint card to the Washington State Patrol for processing.)
- Attend a mandatory class sponsored by the Administrative Office of the Courts on topics which include, but are not limited to: courtroom protocol, interpreter ethics, and legal terminology and procedure.
- Execute the Oath of Interpreter.
- Obtain interpreter ID badge for court proceedings.
Criminal Background Check
A criminal background check will be conducted for each person who complies with the foregoing final requirements. A misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony conviction may be grounds for denial of certification of a candidate. A candidate's history of criminal convictions will be reviewed by the Issues Committee of the Commission, which will consider the relevance of the criminal history to the profession of court interpreting, the period of time since the conviction date(s) and any evidence of rehabilitation submitted by the candidate.
Based upon its review, the Committee will decide whether to grant or deny the certification status. If the Committee denies certification based on a candidates criminal history, the candidate may appeal the Committee's decision to the entire Commission by filing a written appeal with the AOC within 40 calendar days of the date of the Committee's decision. The Commission shall hear the appeal solely on the written information in the candidate's application file, including information submitted by the candidate, unless, in the Commission's sole discretion, it permits the candidate to file additional written information. The Commission shall issue a written decision on the candidate's appeal.
All candidates granted a certification status will receive an ID badge that includes their picture and two-year expiration date. At the end of each two-year continuing education reporting period, a certified interpreter in good standing will be issued a sticker with a new expiration date to be placed over the old expiration date.
Interpreters should wear their badge whenever serving as court interpreters and judicial officers are encouraged to check for the interpreter's badge prior to any court proceeding. In the event of a lost badge, replacement badges can be ordered at the interpreter's expense.
(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 certificaiton 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.