How to get certified
Step 3: Oral examination
To be eligible to take the oral exam, individuals must have completed orientation training and passed either the multiple choice examination or the written language assessment or both. This test is the most important requirement for becoming a certified court interpreter. Test candidates must be able to interpret in the three modes of interpreting: Sight translation, Consecutive, and Simultaneous. Pre-registration at least three weeks prior to the test date is required as walk-ins are not allowed. The fee for taking the examination is $225 and must be received by the deadline listed below in order to hold the testing slot.
Advanced and experienced court interpreters who have completed orientation training and written testing requirements are encouraged to complete the certification process by passing the oral certification examination. To pass the oral exam, interpreters must possess a mastery of English language and the target language at the level of a highly educated native speaker, and have a thorough understanding of legal concepts in both languages. In addition, interpreters must be extremely proficient in specialized cognitive skills required to interpret in sight, consecutive, and simultaneous modes, and be able to convey messages accurately, completely and promptly.
A full oral examination is available in the following languages: Arabic (Egyptian), Cantonese, French, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Ilocano, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Tagalog, Vietnamese. An abbreviated oral examination is available in the following languages: Bosnian-Serbian-Croatian (BSC); Chuukese; German; Marshallese; and Turkish. Interpreters who have passed the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE) or the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) examination may be exempt from taking the oral test and should inquire with our office about reciprocity. The 2013 oral testing dates and deadlines are listed below:
The current cost of the oral exam is $225 for in-state residents and $400 for out-of-state residents who have not begun the certification process in Wisconsin.
Candidates who speak languages where no oral certification examination is offered may take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) if one is available. Learn more about OPIs.
Court interpreter oral exam overview (external link)
Self-assessment: Are you ready to take the oral examination? (external link)
Oral examination description
Sight translation: For this part of the exam, the candidate is asked to read a document written in English, while interpreting it aloud into the target language, and to read a document written in the target language, while interpreting it aloud in English. Each document is approximately 225 words in length. The candidate is given 6 minutes per document to review the content and perform the sight translation while being recorded.
Consecutive: During this segment of the exam, the candidate listens to a recording of an English-speaking attorney who is questioning a non-English speaking witness. The candidate must interpret aloud the English questions into the target language and the witness' answers into English while being recorded. The questions and answers are of various lengths ranging from one word to a maximum of 50 words. The candidate is given 22 minutes to complete this portion of the test.
Simultaneous: With this part of the exam, the candidate listens to a recording in English of an attorney's opening or closing statements to a jury or judge. This passage is recorded at a speed of 120 words per minute and is approximately 900 words in length. The speech continues for about 7 to 10 minutes without stopping. While listening through headphones, the candidate simultaneously interprets aloud all statements into the target language while being recorded. This segment takes about 12 minutes total including instructions and equipment preparation.
2013 oral testing schedule
Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27: Deadline to register: Monday, March 4
Tuesday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 26: Deadline to Register: Monday, June 3
Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30: Deadline to Register: Monday, October 7
The test location for the oral examination is at our offices at 110 East Main Street in Madison. You may pre-register for a one-hour test slot either by e-mail or telephone. Slots are held on a first-come-first-serve basis. Full payment of the testing fee must be received approximately three weeks prior to the test date in order to hold your slot. No walk-ins are allowed.
For more information on eligibility and registration of the oral test, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (608) 266-8635.