The Michigan Certification Program
In September 1999 the Michigan State Court Administrative Office joined the
Consortium for Language Access in the Courts (CLAC) of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). As of the end of May 2006, there were 35 member states, representing over two-thirds of the nation's non-English-speaking population. The Consortium is a multistate partnership dedicated to developing court interpreter proficiency tests, making tests available to member states, and regulating the use of the tests. Consortium resources achieve economies of scale across jurisdictional and organizational boundaries.
In January 2000 the State Court Administrative Office instituted a state-level program that provides for the testing and certification of non-English-language interpreters for use in Michigan courts. The State Court Administrative Office conducts certification testing for Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Vietnamese, and other languages for which there is a Consortium test. Since 2007, all previously uncertified interpreters are required to take and pass a written examination before they may take the oral proficiency examination. This helps to predict whether candidates are ready for the oral examination. Candidates for all languages take the exam at the same time. There is no cost for taking the written examination.
The State Court Administrative Office has established a code of professional conduct for interpreters, a recommended oath for courts to use, and an interpreter qualification screening checklist for use in local courts.
In an effort to ensure that judges have timely access to appropriately qualified non-English-language interpreters to assist them in conducting court proceedings involving individuals who have a limited ability to communicate in English, the State Court Administrative Office offers testing and certification for court interpreters. The objectives of the Court Interpreter Testing and Certification program are to identify individuals who possess the required knowledge and skills and to expand the pool of qualified interpreters who are available to assist the court in the conduct of interpreted proceedings. An overview of the written examination is available for candidates
. A testing schedule is also available.
Learn more about what the courts expect from their court interpreters from the video, "Taking the Interpreter's Oath to Heart: An Introduction to the Requirements for Interpreting in Federal Court." This video was produced by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, District Court Administrative Division.
Learn about the importance of interpreters throughout various legal proceedings from the video, "Interpreters: Their Impact on Legal Proceedings." This video was produced by the Washington State Office of the Administrator for the Courts and the National Center for State Courts, with support from the State Justice Institute.
Resources for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Persons
For a list of sign language interpreters or accommodations available for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind persons, visit the Michigan Department of Civil Rights publication page
and click the link for the Commission on Disability Concerns/Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing.