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
Wisconsin also recognizes interpreter certification conferred upon an individual by other entities such as (The following are external links.):
- Certification from another state based upon National Center for State Courts (NCSC) exams
- Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam (FCICE)
- Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
- National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT)
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 is not sufficient. If you want to perform at the level of a professional court interpreter, you must:
- Possess an educated mastery of both English and a second language
- Possess a wide range of general knowledge
- Possess knowledge of court terminology in both languages
- Be able to perform the three modes of interpreting:
- Simultaneous interpreting -- rendering an interpretation continuously at the same time someone is speaking from the source language (usually from English) into the language of one of the parties or target language.
- Consecutive interpreting -- rendering statements made in a source language into statements in the target language intermittently after a pause between each completed statement in the source language.
- Sight translation-- reading a document written in one language while converting it orally into another language, such as presentence reports, letters to judges, court forms, etc.
- Deliver interpreting services in a manner faithful to the code of ethics for court interpreters
- Understand and adhere to the rules and protocol of the court
Many interpreters 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 .