Court Translation Course and Degree Programs

As a court translator or interpreter, you might work on a freelance basis or on staff at a courthouse. Keep reading for more information about certificate programs and courses in court translation and interpretation. Learn about certification options, too. Schools offering Legal Transcriptionist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Degree programs in court translation are not available, but state governments certify translators in many languages, including Spanish, Haitian Creole and Navajo. You'll need to pass an oral and written exam that tests your language fluency. You may need to take continuing education courses each year in order to maintain certification. Because requirements vary from state to state, you should check with your state certification board for additional details.

Degrees Foreign language degree programs and court translation certificate programs are available
Courses Legal terminology, the legal system, courses in a second language
Certifications Court translation or legal interpretation

What Certificate Programs Exist

There are numerous certificate programs that offer students the chance to study court translation. Program titles include a Certificate in Spanish Legal Translating and Interpreting or a Legal Interpretation and Translation Certificate. Online options may be available in addition to standalone courses through a university's continuing education department that can also be applied to the completion of an accredited certificate. Some course topics are listed as follows:

  • U.S. law for court interpreters
  • Translation: Spanish to English
  • Translation: English to Spanish
  • Advanced legal interpretation skills: Spanish-English
  • Consecutive interpretation in court proceedings
  • Administrative hearings and depositions

How Can I Begin?

A good way to prepare for a career in court translation and interpretation is to study a second language in high school. Many court translators have also studied a second language through a university degree program.

Some schools offer certificate programs in court translation or legal interpretation that may prepare you for a state certification exam. In these programs, you'll study the basics of the legal system as well as specific legal terminology. Prerequisites may include an oral exam in order to prove fluency in both English and a second language. You may want to attend a program in the state in which you hope to work; some information will be location-specific, particularly when reviewing components of a state certification exam.

What Court Translation Certification Will I Need?

The federal court system certifies interpreters in Spanish, Haitian Creole and Navajo. You'll need to pass a two-part exam that tests your written and oral skills in order to earn interpreter certification in one of these languages. If you speak a second language other than Spanish, Haitian Creole or Navajo, you can take a test offered by the State Department in order to become a professionally qualified interpreter.

What Exactly Will I Do in This Career?

Interpreters provide simultaneous and consecutive interpretation services. Simultaneous interpretation requires speaking at the same time as one or more people; you'll translate their words as they speak. In consecutive interpretation, you'll wait for an individual to finish speaking before beginning your translation. Written translation demands the ability to imbue literal ideas with linguistic and cultural differences in order to provide textual accuracy.

Court translators help different parties communicate in legal settings. You may work in private meetings between clients and attorneys, or in court at hearings, arraignments and trials. Some court translators work as independent contractors, while others work on staff at a certain courthouse or legal firm.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

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    • Master

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Regent University

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