The 411 on Court Interpreters

court interpreter
June 14, 2022

If you or your business will be appearing in court, it is important to understand the role of the court interpreter. Court interpreters play a vital role in ensuring that communication between all parties involved in a legal proceeding is effective and accurate, but that might not be the first thing on your mind if you are preparing for court, right? No worries! We will explore the role of court interpreters and provide tips on how to select the right interpreter for your needs. Let’s get started with the information you need to know.

What is a court interpreter?

First and foremost, a court interpreter is a professional who is trained to interpret spoken or written communication in a legal setting. Court interpreters must be fluent in both the source language (the language being interpreted from) and the target language (the language being interpreted). They must also have a thorough understanding of legal terminology in both languages. Cultural context plays a big role here because different words can mean different things in different languages. Court interpreters will be able to decipher unique cultural and linguistic nuances, so you don’t have to.

What does the interpreter do in courtroom trials and legal proceedings?

certified court interpreterThe interpreter’s role is to facilitate communication between all parties in a legal proceeding. This includes interpreting what is said by witnesses, attorneys, and other parties during court proceedings. The interpreter must also be able to provide accurate translations of written information and required documentation that is presented as evidence.

What is the difference between Certified and Registered Interpreters?

In this industry, both terms will come up, so knowing the difference is important. Certified interpreters have met specific standards set by the state or federal government. To become certified, interpreters must pass a written and oral exam in both the source and target languages. Registered interpreters have not necessarily met these same standards, but they have completed a training program and passed a proficiency test. Depending on your situation, you may need either. A certified interpreter may be a little more expensive, but you will have assurances that they are qualified.

What about the difference between a Qualified and Certified Interpreter?

The term “qualified interpreter” is generally used to refer to an interpreter who has met the minimum requirements to interpret in a specific setting. For court interpreters, this typically includes being able to show proof of fluency in both the source and target languages, as well as having completed a training program. Certified interpreters have met additional standards set by the state or federal government to work within those specific court systems.

How does court interpreting work in state and federal legal proceedings?

In the United States, there are two main types of court interpreting: federal and state. Federal court interpreters are employees of the United States District Courts. State court interpreters are generally independent contractors who work for state or local courts. There are both federal and state-specific certification courses and tests that interpreters can take to work within the United States. Be sure to check state and local laws to determine if differentiation is required to work as or use an interpreter in the court where your case will be tried.

How can I find a qualified court interpreter?

interpreterIf you need help finding qualified interpreters, there are a few resources that can assist you. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has a list of federally certified interpreters. State governments also generally have lists of state-certified and/or registered interpreters. One place to begin your search is through the U.S. government, which acts as a national center database for federal court interpreters.

When selecting court interpreter candidates, it is important to consider the type of courtroom proceeding for your case, the language requirements, and the qualifications of the interpreter you desire. Most importantly, you should also confirm that the interpreter is available on the dates you need them.

Why do I need a court interpreter?

If you are involved in a legal proceeding in a federal court, it is important to have a court interpreter present to ensure that communication is clear and accurate for all parties involved. Court interpreters are trained professionals who can interpret spoken testimony and provide document translations. While you may be able to use a family member or friend as an interpreter, it is always best to use a professional court interpreter to ensure accuracy and avoid any potential conflicts of interest or cultural misunderstandings, especially in federal courts.

How do court interpreters work?

Certified court interpreters typically work as independent contractors. This means they are not employees of the court system or a national center, but rather they are hired by individual attorneys or parties to support a specific case. In some instances, the court may appoint an interpreter, but this is generally only done in significant criminal cases.

How can INGCO International help?

If you need a court interpreter or want to talk through what court interpreting may look like for your needs, INGCO International can help! We are a full-service interpreting and translation company with over 16 years of experience in state and federal courts. We have a network of over 3,500 legal specialists, certified court interpreters, and translators who are ready to assist you with all of your preferred language needs. Contact us today to get started!