Required Interpreter Skills and Education
Professional court interpreters should 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: 1) sight interpreting, 2) consecutive interpreting, and 3) simultaneous interpreting. See details >>.
Testing and Certification
The State Court Administrative Office offers certification testing to persons interested in becoming a non-English-language court interpreter. SCAO does not hire interpreters, but does test and certify individuals to interpret for Michigan's trial courts. After a person passes the certification exam, the State Court Administrative Office issues a certification card and his or her name is added to the official list of certified interpreters. Certified interpreters may contract with local trial courts. Currently, depending upon interest, tests can be offered in these languages:
Note: Court interpreter certification earned from another Consortium state and federal court interpreter certification are accepted by the Michigan Supreme Court, State Court Administrative Office. Michigan court interpreter certification may be acceptable in other states
Registration for the July examination will open in late May. If you're interested in more information about the exam, click here
. The State Court Administrative Office reserves the right to cancel or reschedule
any tests due to low participation or other unanticipated reasons.
March 25-27, 2014 CLOSED
July 29, 2014
|Spanish Oral Proficiency
June 19 and 20, 2014
October 16 and 17, 2014
Languages Other than Spanish (LOTS)
October 20 and 21, 2014
Description of Test Procedures
The test is designed and developed by a team of experts from several parts of the country who have extensive knowledge of court proceedings, the job requirements for court interpreters, and/or advanced training or high levels of fluency in English and non-English languages. These experts may include federally certified court interpreters, judges, lawyers, scholars, and/or legal professionals.
The test measures knowledge and fluency in both languages and the ability to successfully render meaning from source to target language in each of the three modes of interpreting that are required of a court interpreter:
- Sight Translation of Documents
- Consecutive Interpreting
- Simultaneous Interpreting
During the sight portion
, the examinee reads a non-English-language document aloud. When that reading is completed, the examinee is given an English language document and asked to read it in non-English.
During the consecutive mode
, the examinee interprets English language questions into the non-English-language and non-English-language answers into English. A test proctor administers the consecutive portion by playing the recorded courtroom simulation on a CD player. The examinee listens to sentences, the CD is paused, and the interpreter then interprets from memory. It is important in this part of the test to take very good notes. Remembering details is crucial.
During the simultaneous mode
, the examinee, wearing headphones, listens to a prerecorded English passage and, while listening, interprets aloud into the non-English language.
The entire court interpreter certification test takes approximately one hour. Test tapes are scored by a team of two certified interpreters who have been trained by the National Center for State Courts for rating the certification tests. Candidates must score at least 70 percent on each separate part of the test in order to pass. Efforts are made to report scores to the candidates within 60 days. Examinees passing the test are issued a certification card.