How to Become a Court Interpreter

A Court Interpreter is someone who works with the court system to provide language interpretation for those who do not speak fluently the language used in the court. Court interpreters are called upon for special judicial cases that require translating oral speech into another language. Suppose, if any witnesses have been called to the stand who don't speak English or the language primarily used in the court, such witnesses should have a reliable way of expressing themselves acceptable in the eye of law.


Although a college degree or certification is often required to become a court interpreter, there are exceptions as the most important skill is the ability to speak two languages fluently. However, conversational fluency is only the starting point, because court translators and interpreters must also understand the court system and its vocabulary and terminology.

The role of a court interpreter is to render a complete and accurate interpretation or translation, without altering, omitting, or adding anything to what is stated or written, and without explanation. On the level of expertise required, being bilingual will not be enough.

The interpreter must possess educated, native -like mastery of both the primary and the secondary language. He must have the power of Sight Translation, i.e. a hybrid type of interpreting/translating whereby the interpreter reads a document written in one language while translating it orally into another language. Court interpreters do not only work in court, but they are involved at every stage of the legal process. He could be called upon for the interviewing following an arrest and such sessions might take place at unsociable hours.

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