Indiana Supreme Court
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste. 500
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Angela Joseph
Staff Attorney
Phone: 317-234-3935
angela.joseph@courts.in.gov

Krystal Grimes
Program Coordinator
Phone: 317-234-3824
krystal.grimes@courts.in.gov

Court Interpreter Certification > Get Certified Get Certified

The Certification Process

What are the dates for the next certification session?
The next orientation class will be in January 2015, but registration is open for the written exam to candidates who have completed orientation. 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 at the bottom of this page.

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.

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.

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.

I want to become a certified court interpreter, what do I need to do?

  • First: Attend the two-day court interpreter orientation that covers interpreter ethics, protocol, basic criminal procedure, and the three modes of interpretation used in the courtroom;
  • Second: Pass a written exam covering vocabulary, criminal procedure, and court interpreter ethics with a score of 70% or better;
  • Third: Attend the two-day skills building seminar that covers sight translation, consecutive interpretation and simultaneous interpretation;
  • Fourth: Pass all three portions of the National Consortium-approved interpreter certification oral exam with a score of 70% or better on each of three sections: sight translation, consecutive interpretation and simultaneous interpretation;
  • Fifth: Submit to a criminal background check;
  • Sixth: Sign an oath promising to comply with the Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Code of Conduct and Procedure.

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:

  • English Language: One indispensable component necessary to function as a professional court interpreter is a high degree of proficiency in the English language. Accordingly, the written examination assumes a high degree of literacy in the English language and familiarity with a range of language constructions. A candidate will be tested on comprehension of written English vocabulary and common English idioms.
  • Court-Related Terms and Usage: A second area of knowledge essential to successful professional performance is familiarity with the terminology and procedures of the court system. Accordingly, the written examination also measures recognition of common court-related situations and vocabulary.
  • Ethics and Professional Conduct: The third area of knowledge required of professional court interpreters encompassed in the written test is general knowledge of ethical standards guiding the performance of duties. Accordingly, the written exam includes questions aimed at measuring a candidate's knowledge of ethical behavior and professional conduct.

For any candidate testing in Spanish, the candidate also must complete a ten-sentence translation component in which the candidate must translate ten English sentences to Spanish. In order to pass this component, the candidate must receive a score of borderline or better.

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.

I am a Spanish language interpreter. 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.

I interpret in a language that is not Spanish. Do you offer a certification exam in my language?
On a case-by-case basis. If you are proficient in another foreign language and have completed the self-assessment guide, check the Consortium Oral Examination List to see if your language is offered or you may contact Angela Joseph, the Staff Attorney at angela.joseph@courts.in.gov, if you have questions about the Consortium-approved certification exam in your language. Additionally, the State of Indiana does accept reciprocity from other states if you have been certified from another state that belongs to the Consortium. Learn more about reciprocity.

Do I have to be certified to work as an interpreter 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.

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. 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.

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 Staf Attorney, Angela Joseph at 317-234-3935 or via email at: angela.joseph@courts.in.gov.

I'm ready to register for the program, what should I do now?
If you are ready to register for the certification exam, click on the link below to download a registration form for the next session. In the meantime, you are encouraged to obtain study guides and practice, practice, practice! You can find a list of study materials in the Online Resources section of this website. You also should study the Indiana Supreme Court Interpreter Code of Conduct and Procedure.

 

See What Languages We Offer Certification In

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