A certified court interpreter translates information from one language to another, usually a foreign language into English, for the court systems. They do their work with judges, lawyers, defendants, and witnesses to relay vital information for hearings, depositions, and other court situations. It is necessary for court interpreters to be fluent in at least two languages, in addition to having training in basic court terminology.
A court interpreter works in the court system to offer language interpretation for people who do not speak English fluently. Court interpreters often work with defendants and witnesses in these cases. They usually are fluent in several languages and can understand the tone of language and conversation in other languages.
The job of the court interpreter is to accurately orally translate everything that a person says. They need to preserve the tone and connotation of the first language and cannot add or change anything from the original text. The court interpreter needs to have a wide vocabulary range and has to understand slang and formal language.
There are two ways the court interpreter translates language. They are simultaneous and consecutive. Simultaneous interpretation requires the interpreter to speak and listen at the same time. It is common for this interpretation to be performed in pairs. The interpreter starts translating aloud as the speaker is completing their sentence. This is not often used in court systems but it can still happen. Consecutive interpretation starts after the speaker has completed what they are saying. This often means the interpreter will take shorthand or notes to make sure they do not miss anything that was spoken.
Court interpreters most often work in Spanish to English translation. But the translation will depend on the part of the country and the language of the person involved in the case. It is important for the court interpreter to be detached from the conversation content so they keep the context and tone.
Most court interpreters work in courtrooms or other judicial settings. They can work in client-attorney meetings for depositions and interviews. Also, they work with families, witnesses, and legal and personal defendants.
Depending on the organization you work for, you may be needed for interpretation services every day for one month and then not at all the next month. That is why some interpreters work for several court systems in their area. It is an exciting and growing career and worth considering.