Court Interpreting Courses
Court interpreting courses teach students how to become interpreters in state and federal courts, as well as prepare them for state certification and licensing exams. Learn more about court interpreting courses, including where they are offered and what they teach.
What Will I Learn from Court Interpreting Courses?
Court interpreting courses teach you how to act as a translator for people involved in legal proceedings in federal, state and district courts throughout the United States. Classes typically focus on a particular language. You can also take American Sign Language court interpreting classes and workshops.
To enroll in a course, you must first pass an exam demonstrating written and oral proficiency in English and in the language covered in the class. You study court proceedings, interpreters' ethics and duties, including sight translation of written documents, simultaneous and consecutive interpretation and tape transcription. Some certificate programs also include instruction in medical translation. Here are some additional course topics:
Students will learn about interpretation booths and other applications associated with interpreting across various genres. Major topics include theories on interpreting, vocabulary and simultaneous interpretation skills and techniques.
This course will teach students how to produce high-quality translations using technology and individual skill sets. Topics like an oral presentation of criminal and civil court documents in the necessary language will be covered, in addition to important translation characteristics like accuracy, delivery and tone of speech in a public setting.
This course, taught in Spanish and English, will provide a more in-depth understanding of translation from Spanish to English via literary and legal texts. Vocabulary practice is emphasied, including syntax of sentence structures and translation techniques.
Students will cover basic translation of legal documents from English to Spanish, including economic and financial materials. Assignments and papers will be in Spanish and the development of a technical glossary might be required.
Tools and Technology
This course will focus on the current technologies that are used to aid translations in legal proceedings. Topics include the use of tools to improve online research skills, social networking and website construction and a study of industry-specific terminology to enhance group efforts.
How Will I Learn?
In addition to classroom instruction, you also work in language labs where you practice translation and interpretation skills in a particular language. You may also participate in a practicum where you'll observe a court interpreter working in a courtroom. Court interpreting programs often take two years to complete, upon which you may receive a certificate of completion. A certificate issued by a school is not a substitute for court interpreter certification offered at the state and federal level.
Court interpreting programs are frequently designed to prepare you for court interpreter certification or licensing in your state. Many courses and workshops can also prepare you to take the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE). The FCICE is administered in two parts, with the written exam given one year and the oral exam given the following year. Courses are frequently taught by certified court interpreters and often include oral drills and practice exams.
Where Can I Take Classes?
Court interpreting classes are taught at community colleges and at 4-year colleges and universities. Some law schools also offer court interpreter programs and workshops. A number of workshops are offered throughout the country that can help you prepare for the FCICE, and if you're already a certified court interpreter, you can enroll in advanced workshops to learn new skills.
Though you can enroll in some undergraduate certificate programs with a high school diploma, many programs require the completion of at least two years of college before enrollment. At some schools, credits earned in court interpreting courses can be applied to a language major.