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Court Interpreter

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Language skills are prized in the federal courts. Highly qualified interpreters in court proceedings involving non-English speakers help ensure that justice is carried out fairly for defendants and other stakeholders. Interpreters’ work allows defendants to hear the evidence, assist in their own defense, confront witnesses, and communicate effectively with court staff during court proceedings and trials.

Court interpreters interpret simultaneously or consecutively to bridge communications gaps and help the courts ensure due process. They may

  • interpret communications for defendants, defense witnesses, and other parties with limited English skills, helping them understand and communicate with the court, counsel, and probation/pretrial services officers
  • provide interpretation services when necessary in all criminal proceedings
  • provide sight translations of relevant court forms and documents
  • serve as a resource to judges and senior managers in matters concerning language and culture
  • prepare training and orientation materials and other documents and
  • help coordinate the services of other interpreters.

In addition to a strong command of a language other than English—most often Spanish — staff court interpreters must have successfully completed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination.