1. What are the dates for the next certification session?
The next orientation class will be in August 2017. Candidates must pass each step of the program before registering for and progressing to the next step (with the exception of the Simultaneous Interpretation session, which is optional). Registration forms are available here.
2. I want to become a certified court interpreter, what do I need to do?
3. I'm bilingual, is that sufficient to become a certified court interpreter?
No. Professional court interpreting requires more than being bilingual. Court interpreting is a highly skilled profession that requires training, education, experience and knowledge of legal terminology in both languages. The Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Program is not a training program. It only provides the process in which a candidate can become a Certified/Qualified Interpreter, therefore it is imperative candidates have experience and training prior to seeking certification.
We encourage those individuals interested in this program to read over the self-assessment guide (PDF) provided by the Consortium at the National Center for State Courts website. The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination Program also has a self-assessment test you can review online.
4. I'm already certified by another state or the federal government, can I obtain certification by reciprocity in Indiana?
Yes. You may be eligible for certification by reciprocity as long as the certifying state or federal government maintains the same (or higher) scoring standards as Indiana. Learn more about certification by reciprocity.
5. What is the written exam like?
The written test contains 135 multiple-choice questions and measures a candidate's knowledge of the following areas central to the work of a court interpreter:
6. What is the oral certification exam like?
The oral certification exam tests proficiency in the three modes of interpretation used in the courts: sight translation, consecutive interpretation and simultaneous interpretation. A candidate must achieve a score of 70% or better on each portion of the test to pass. Tests are given individually, are tape recorded, and are scored by two federally certified interpreters who are trained as raters.
7. Do I have to pass all three portions of the oral exam at once?
No. The State of Indiana currently does not require all three portions of the oral exam to be passed in one sitting. You may retake the sections you did not pass, when the next oral exam is offered, for a fee of $25 per section tested. Please note that you have two years from the date that you attended Skills Building to pass the oral exam. Failure to pass the oral examination within this time frame will result in you having to retake Skills Building before sitting for the oral exam again.
8. My language is not on the list of languages that Indiana offers certification in, can I still be a Certified Interpreter?
The Indiana Supreme Court recently designated a new level of interpreter for languages in which no oral exam exists, this new designation is called a Qualified Interpreter. In order to become a Qualified Interpreter you must:
9. Do I have to be a Certified/Qualified Interpreter to work in the Indiana courts?
Currently, you do not have to be certified to work in Indiana courts. However, courts are strongly encouraged to use certified interpreters, and many trial courts in Indiana only will hire certified interpreters.
10. How can I get hired to work as a court interpreter and what would I get paid?
Please be aware that certification does not constitute a guarantee of employment. At this time, some Indiana courts employ independent contractors for court interpretation while other Indiana courts utilize the services of staff court interpreters or agency interpreters. Therefore, the possible income for a court interpreter can vary. Factors affecting the availability of work for independent contractors include the volume of cases requiring interpretation in a specific language, the employment policies of the applicable court, and the availability of certified interpreters in each locality. Contact your local courthouse to find out how interpreters are hired in each county.
11. How do I find out about program changes, test dates, and training opportunities?
Whenever you have questions about the court interpreter program, please visit this website. We endeavor to post any changes to the program promptly. If the answer to your question is not found at any of these previously listed sources, you may contact the Program Administrative Assistant, Sina Alexander at 317-234-3935 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. I'm ready to register for the program, what should I do now?
Online Resources section of this website. You also should study the Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Code of Conduct and Procedure.
1. When do I need to request an interpreter?
The decision to appoint an interpreter should be made as early as possible. If unsure of the need, voir dire the litigant or witness by asking open-ending questions in English during a brief hearing. Some examples of questions may be:
2. What's the difference between interpreting and translating?
These two terms are often used interchangeably but completely different skills are required for each. Interpreting means to transfer a verbal message from the source language into a verbal message in the target language. Translating means to transfer a written message from the source language into a written message in the target language.
3. When should you use an in-person interpreter versus telephonic interpreting?
The Indiana Supreme Court has a telephone interpreting service, Language Line. Use Language Line for brief routine matters only. For trials, guilty plea hearings, or evidentiary proceedings, an in-person interpreter should be used.
4. Can I just have family members, friends, minor children, or a bilingual attorney interpret a court proceeding?
No. Only a certified or qualified interpreter who is neutral and does not know the parties should interpret a court proceeding. If you need assistance in locating an interpreter, please contact the court interpreter program manager.
5. Does the court have to pay for the court interpreter?
In most cases, yes. In order to provide equal and meaningful access to limited English proficient individuals who access the judicial system, it is the responsiblity of the court to pay the costs for an interpreter. If you have questions about whether you should pay, please contact the court interpreter program manager for assistance.