For interpreters

How to get certified

Step 2: Written examination

The written examination is the second step towards achieving certification and is generally offered four weeks after orientation. Interpreter candidates must have completed the two-day orientation to be eligible to take the written examination. The written examination serves as a screening test to determine eligibility to sit for the oral examination.

The test is in English and consists of two components: 1) multiple-choice test and 2) written language assessment. The multiple-choice part is comprised of 135 questions covering general English proficiency, court-related terms and usage, and ethics/professional conduct. A candidate must pass either the multiple choice test OR the written language assessment in order to be eligible to take the oral examination which is considered step 3 in the certification process. A candidate may sign up for either the multiple choice test or the written language assessment or both.

Overview of the Written Examination for Candidates - Council of Language Access Coordinators Adobe PDF

Multiple-choice test description

The multiple-choice test measures interpreter candidates' knowledge of three areas central to the work of a court interpreter at the level of a minimally qualified court interpreter:

1. English language. To function as a professional court interpreter, one indispensable component is a high degree of proficiency in the English language. Accordingly, the written examination assumes a high degree of literacy in the English language and familiarity with a range of language constructions. It tests comprehension of written English vocabulary and idioms.

2. Court-related terms and usage. A second area of knowledge essential to successful professional performance is familiarity with the terminology and procedures of the court system. Accordingly, the written examination also measures recognition of common court-related situations and vocabulary, especially in the area of criminal courts.

3. Ethics and professional conduct. The third area of knowledge required of professional court interpreters encompassed in the written test is general knowledge of standards guiding the performance of duties. Accordingly, the written exam includes questions aimed at measuring candidates' knowledge of ethical behavior and professional conduct.

This exam was developed by the National Center for State Courts Consortium for Language Access in the Courts (CLAC).

Fee: None
Time allotted for written test: 2 hours and 15 minutes -- Passing score: 80%

Written language assessment description

The written language assessment measures interpreter candidates' ability to translate English into their target language. It consists of translation of ten items, which are two to three sentences in length. The language is typical of lay witness testimony.

Fee: $45
Time allotted for written language assessment: 1 hour -- Scored: Pass/Fail

2014 written examination dates and times

The test begins promptly at the times indicated above. Candidates who arrive more than 15 minutes after the start time will not be allowed to sit for the test.

Registering for the written test

To register for the written test, submit the written examination application with the test fee (if applicable) by the corresponding deadline. A confirmation e-mail with logistical information will be sent to you prior to the testing date.

2014 written exam application MS Word


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