Updated: Jun 30, 2020
The qualifications that you need to become an immigration court interpreter include language skills, an understanding of law terminology, and training.
Federal courts in the United States have three levels of interpreters: certified interpreters, professionally qualified interpreters, and language-skilled interpreters. Certified interpreters have passed an exam and earned certification, while professionally qualified interpreters have taken a similar exam administered by the United Nations. Language-skilled interpreters are not certified but show the necessary language skills to meet the needs of the court. If you grew up in a bilingual household, you likely qualify for this level. Language-skilled interpreters are sometimes known as "ad hoc" interpreters.
Certified Interpreter: An interpreter who has scored a minimum of 70 percent on an oral exam as well as 80 percent on each section of a three-part written exam, completed a two-day training program, documented twenty hours of courtroom observation, passed a background check and agreed to earn 16 credits of continuing education.
Language-Skilled Interpreter: An interpreter who is skilled in a language for which no certification exam is available, passed an oral proficiency interview, completed a two-day training program, documented twenty hours of courtroom observation, passed a background check and agreed to earn 16 credits of continuing education. Language-skilled interpreters are required to complete certification requirements within two years of an exam in his or her language becoming available.
Provisionally Approved: An interpreter who has met all of the basic requirements, scored a minimum of 65 percent on the oral performance exam and a minimum of 60 percent on each section, completed a two-day training program, documented twenty hours of courtroom observation, passed a background check and agreed to earn 16 credits of continuing education. Provisionally approved interpreters must complete certification requirements within two years of being granted provisionally approved status.
What Does an Immigration Court Interpreter Do?
The job duties of an immigration court interpreter focus on providing interpretation services for immigrant clients who are appearing in an immigration case.
You typically translate between your language and English. In some situations, you interpret spoken language during a court hearing, but your responsibilities can also include translating documents for immigration cases into the immigrant’s native language. You can also help the attorney in the case communicate with their client. The judge or attorney in the court can ask the interpreter to perform other translation duties if the court deems additional translations necessary to ensure due process.
Common Languages Spoken in Florida
According to a recent American Community Survey, approximately 26.64% of the Florida population speaks a language other than English. What’s more, more than 91% of the non-English speaking population in Florida speaks one of the following 10 languages:
*This table was created based on respondents’ written answers, the majority of whom wrote “Chinese” while others specified “Cantonese” or “Mandarin.”
Other languages spoken in Florida include Russian, Polish, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Hebrew, Gujarathi, Urdu, Japanese, Dutch, Hungarian, Thai, Serbo-Croatian, Bengali, Romanian, Persian, Albanian, Telugu, and Yiddish.
Click here to check the requirements to be a Florida Court Interpreter
If you need an Interpreter for your Immigration process, schedule an appointment with me, and I will be happy to help you.
References: Legal Language Services and Zip Recruiter