What is Court Interpreting?

Court interpreting basics

Court interpretation is a service provided by a court certified interpreter who is trained to interpret between English and one or more foreign languages. Interpreters work with a number of different individuals in the court system and are able to communicate directly with the individual they’re working with, providing a necessary line of communication between that individual and other representatives of the court.

A certified court interpreter carries a lot of responsibility in their role. Anything they interpret from a given individual is taken as fact, which puts pressure on the interpreter to make sure these communications are as accurate as possible. In addition to the words used, appropriate context, tone and connotation also need to be used to provide the court with the closest approximation as possible of what has been said.

Court interpretation can feature both simultaneous and consecutive services, depending on the circumstances and the preferences of the court. While consecutive interpretation is often preferred for a courtroom setting and one-on-one interviews, it’s possible that simultaneous interpretation would be used to facilitate more informal conversations.

In the United States, the most common type of court interpreter needed is one who can communicate between English and Spanish. But other language specialties are commonly required across the United States, serving non-native English speakers such as immigrants, refugees, tourists, and other individuals.

Depending on the setting for these interpretive services, the hours and nature of court interpreting can vary widely from one job to the next. While courtroom interpreters are only required when court is in session, depositions and other projects can demand long hours, including evenings and weekends, and the hours for this profession can be unpredictable, with new projects and job demands forcing interpreters to work overtime on some weeks while enjoying a lighter load at other times of the year.

Becoming a Court Certified Interpreter

Court interpreters must go through rigorous education and training before they’re able to work as certified court interpreters. Most court certified interpreters have earned a bachelor’s degree, with the most helpful majors focusing on a foreign language that could be useful in their interpreting work. Depending on the college or university, interpreting and translation-specific course loads may also be available.

After a college degree is earned, aspiring interpreters must complete a certificate program from a reputable organization such as the American Translators Association (ATA) or the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT). Specialized court interpreter certificate programs are designed to provide professionals with essential interpreting skills as well as an understanding of the U.S. legal system.

These certifications are key to helping clients hire credible interpreters for various projects. Protranslating’s also has ISO 17100 certifications, providing peace of mind when you’re seeking  a linguist who knows what they’re doing.

Once interpreters have completed their court interpreter training, they’re able to enter the workforce as professional interpreters, entering a high-demand field where their specialized skills can support the mission of the U.S. court system.

Courts seeking a professional interpreter should contact us today to learn more about our interpreter services and how we’re able to connect you with an experience court interpreter. If you’re still in your pursuit of a court interpreter certificate, seek out the right program that will help you meet your goals and prepare you for an exciting, important career providing interpreting services within the court system.

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