For interpreters

How to get certified

The certification process for candidates who would like to interpret in Wisconsin courts includes a series of steps that must be completed in order. For detailed information on each requirement follow the links below.

Step 1: Two-day orientation

Step 2: Written examination

Step 3: Oral examination

Other requirements

The 2020 schedule is organized in cycles that allow candidates to complete each step in the certification process in the required order. Each sequence consists of orientation, written exam, and oral exam with sufficient time between each event for candidates to prepare, in particular, for the tests. Candidates are not bound by the sequences and may attend any of the events when and where it's most convenient. Spanish language candidates are required to obtain certification within 2 years from the date they attend orientation while non-Spanish language candidates are required to obtain certification within 5 years from the date they attend orientation otherwise they must retake orientation.

**Due to the public health emergency for the State of Wisconsin in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pewaukee and Wisconsin Rapids orientations; the Waukesha and Wisconsin Rapids written exam; and the June oral exam are canceled.**

2020 Proposed sequences
Sequence 1
Date Event Location
April 4 - 5 (canceled) Orientation Pewaukee
May 1 (canceled) Written exam Waukesha
June 23 & 24 (canceled) Oral exam Madison
Sequence 2
June 6 - 7 (canceled) Orientation Wisconsin Rapids
July 10 (canceled) Written exam Wisconsin Rapids
November 18 & 19 Oral exam Madison
Sequence 3
September 26 - 27 Orientation Madison
October 23 Written exam Madison
Feb./Mar. 2021 (tentative) Oral exam Madison

2020 Court Interpreter Certification Program announcement and complete schedule Adobe PDF

Wisconsin also recognizes interpreter certification conferred upon an individual by other entities such as (The following are external links.):

Please contact the program manager if you think you may qualify for reciprocity.

If you are new to the field of court interpreting, please take time to read the articles on court interpreting found on the NCSC and NAJIT websites (external links). These materials will give you an overview of the job of a court interpreter.

Court interpreting is a profession that demands a high level of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Many people do not realize that being bilingual alone is insufficient to be competent in the field. If you want to perform at the level of a professional court interpreter, you must:

Many interpreter candidates who are just starting out do not have all of these qualifications when they first embark on the profession of court interpreting. You can improve your skills over time through observation, study and practice.

For general information on the court interpreting profession in Wisconsin, see “Wisconsin Court Interpreters: Ensuring Justice for All” brochure Adobe PDF.

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