Professional court interpreters are individuals who possess an educated, native-like mastery of both English and another language, display broad general knowledge, characteristic of what a minimum of two years of public education at a college or university would provide, and perform consecutive interpreting. 

Court hearings require court interpreters to translate oral speech into a different language. This helps an individual who has been called to the stand but cannot speak English has a reliable means of expressing themselves. 

Interpreters are responsible for assisting non-English speakers in communicating in a court setting. Language proficiency is a must, and proficiency in both the U.S. and international legal systems is beneficial. Translating could be done during depositions, arraignments, trials, legal meetings, or preliminary hearings. 

To become a certified court interpreter, you’ll need to take Oral Proficiency Exams (OPE), the English-Only Written Exam (EOWE), and the Bilingual Oral Interpreting Exam (BOIE). 

You may also need to achieve certification status for some languages. Registering with the National Association of Court Interpreters and taking their exams is one way to accomplish this.

Interpreters may also be required to read documents in a foreign language aloud than what they were written in. Graduates are required to earn a bachelor’s degree in translation studies or court interpreting to obtain a position as a court interpreter. They must demonstrate an exceptional understanding of English and another language. They must also have a firm grasp of legal terminology and the legal process. On-the-job training will occur after graduation.

A bachelor’s degree is unnecessary; however, some court interpreters have a bachelor’s degree.