The job of court interpreters is to convert sign language or speech from one language into another in real-time. Legal documents are able to be translated from one language to another in the legal realm in advance. But the only way a person who can take part in a legal proceeding in court is when an interpreter helps them.
A college degree may be needed to become a court interpreter, but this is not always true. The most important skill is being able to speak two languages flawlessly. Courtroom interpreters should have forming training in interpreting and know legal terminology. This information can be learned in college coursework. Many court interpreters are certified in the federal courts or by the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators in their proficient languages.
When people do interpreting in court, it is usually simultaneous interpreting. The court interpreter has a set of earphones on paired with a microphone and does her interpreting with a wireless connection to the client. He or she is also wearing earphones.
Consecutive interpreting is when the professional waits until the speaker has finished a sentence or idea before giving the interpretation of the speech. Some consecutive interpreters take notes so they can recall exactly what the speaker said. Interpreters in courts need to interpret everything that was said but also convey the tone and style of the speaker.
Court interpreters also need to sight read, which is reading documents aloud in another language that is different than the language in which it is written. Sight translation or sight reading requires a lot of focus on detail and concentration. It is a vital core skill for the courtroom interpreter.
A court interpreter needs to be skilled in consecutive interpreting, which is interpreting for non-English speaking witnesses. On the certification examination to become a certified court interpreter, you interpret English language questions and statements into the foreign language and foreign-language answers into English.
Interpreters play an important role in many parts of society and receive a median salary of $51,000. However, a court interpreter with experience who is certified can make more than $100,000 per year. Job growth for interpreters is expected to be high, according to government data, with 42% growth through 2020.
Becoming a court interpreter takes time and effort, but there is a big pay off in the end. We hope you consider this rewarding career.