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Home Administration Court Services Interpreters Interpreter Candidates
Home Administration Court Services Interpreters Interpreter Candidates
Interpreter Candidates
Would you like to be a Translator or an Interpreter?

Translators and interpreters perform similar tasks, but in different ways.

  • Translators convey written material from one language into a different language.
    Translation certification can be obtained through the American Translators Association.
  • Interpreters convey spoken material from one language into a different language.
    Court Interpreters can obtain certification or credentialing through the Office of Language Access Training and Testing Program.
Should you pursue Certification or Credentialing?

Future interpreters will pursue either certification or credentialing based on the language(s) in which they want to work. The first steps of both the Certification and Credentialing processes are the same, including the Orientation, Written Exam and Skills Building Training.

Individuals working in any of the following languages must pursue Certification:

Arabic  •  Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian  •  Cantonese  •  French  •  Haitian Creole  •  Hmong  •  Ilocano  •  Khmer  •  Korean  •  Laotian  •  Mandarin  •  Marshallese  •  Polish  •  Portuguese   •   Russian  •   Somali  •  Spanish  •  Tagalog  •  Turkish  •  Vietnamese

Individuals working in any other language must pursue Credentialing. 

Visit our Upcoming Certification and Credentialing Activities for dates and more information regarding the program.

Do you possess the skills required of a professional interpreter?

What qualifications should you have before attempting to become a certified or credentialed court interpreter in federal or state courts?

Professional court interpreters are individuals who:

  • possess educated, native-like mastery of both English and a second language;
  • display wide general knowledge characteristic of what a minimum of two years of general education at a college or university would provide; and
  • perform the three major types of court interpreting: sight interpreting consecutive interpreting, and simultaneous interpreting.

Thus, proficiency in applied interpreting skills involves the two-fold elements of 1) a high level of mastery of two languages, and 2) specific performance skills in the modes of interpreting. Court interpreters must perform each type of interpreting skillfully enough to include everything that is said, preserve the tone and level of language of the speaker, and neither change nor add anything to what is said. Interpreters must deliver services in a manner faithful to all canons of a Code of Professional Responsibility and court policies regarding court interpreting promulgated by the judiciary.

Mastery of a language at the levels required for court interpreting requires reading and speaking the languages regularly in wide variety of language contexts, and, usually, years of formal education. Acquiring the specific performance skills presupposes some element of innate ability and practice, practice, practice!

This information and a Self-Asessment Tool is posted on the website of the Language Access Services Section of the National Center for State Courts.

For more information about these processes you may contact us.

Office of Language Access  ♦  Colorado Judicial Department

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