For interpreters

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Courts, attorneys, law enforcement, and public and private agencies seeking legally-trained interpreters should look for the most highly qualified person using certified interpreters first whenever available. Please note Wisconsin has certified interpreters in the following languages: American Sign Language, Deaf Relay, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Polish, and Russian. Scroll down for links to other states' rosters.

Explanation of roster levels

Spoken language interpreters: Spanish
Certified: Certified interpreters hold the highest credential for court interpreting offered by the Director of State Courts. This interpreter has passed a rigorous oral certification examination which tests an interpreter in the three modes of interpreting: Sight Translation, Consecutive and Simultaneous. This level of interpreter should always be the first choice for court interpreting either remotely for shorter hearings or in-person for longer hearings.

Note: A Spanish interpreter whose name is marked with an asterisk "*" indicates he or she is also federally certified with the US Administrative Office of the Courts.

Provisional: Provisional interpreters have scored 65% or higher on two out of three parts of the oral examination. This level of interpreter may have passed one or two parts of the oral examination and should be the next choice for court interpreting if a certified interpreter cannot be located.

Spoken language interpreters: Languages other than Spanish (LOTS)
Certified: Certified interpreters hold the highest credential for court interpreting offered by the Director of State Courts. This interpreter has passed a rigorous oral certification examination which tests an interpreter in the three modes of interpreting: Sight Translation, Consecutive and Simultaneous. This level of interpreter should always be the first choice for court interpreting either remotely for shorter hearings or in-person for longer hearings.

Provisional: Provisional interpreters have scored 65% or higher on two out of three parts of the oral examination. This level of interpreter may have passed one or two parts of the oral examination and should be the next choice for court interpreting if a certified interpreter cannot be located.

Provisional B: Provisional-B interpreters have scored 55% or higher on two out of three parts of the oral examination. This level of interpreter may be the next choice for court interpreting if a certified or provisional interpreter cannot be located.

Authorized: This level of interpreter is available for languages* where an oral certification examination is NOT available and therefore certification is not available. Authorized interpreters have achieved a Superior level on an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and should be the first choice for court interpreting.

Sign language interpreters: Hearing
Certified: Certified interpreters have met all the Director of State Courts' requirements in Wisconsin, and includes holding of a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) specialist legal certification, such as an SC:L. Interpreters holding this specialist legal certification should always be the first choice for court interpreting.

Provisional: Provisional interpreters have met all the court's requirements in Wisconsin, which includes holding a generalist level of certification from RID such as CSC, CI/CT, or NIC, or a level of certification from the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) 4 or 5. Provisional interpreters also hold a license by the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL) pursuant to Wis. Stat. §440.032. Interpreters in this category may be used in legal proceedings if a legally certified interpreter cannot be located.

As of December 1, 2010, Wis. Stat. §440.032 now requires all sign language interpreters who provide services for compensation to either be certified by the Wisconsin Supreme Court or be licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL). Courts are discouraged from using sign language interpreters who are not listed on the roster and should inquire about their credentials if seeking to hire them.

Sign language interpreters: Deaf or hard of hearing
Certified: Certified interpreters have met all the Director of State Courts' requirements in Wisconsin which includes holding of a Conditional Legal Interpreting Permit-Relay (CLIP-R) from RID. Deaf or hard of hearing interpreters holding this specialist legal certification should always be the first choice for court interpreting.

Provisional: Provisional interpreters have met all the court's requirements in Wisconsin which includes holding a level of certification from RID such as a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI). Deaf or hard of hearing interpreters holding this generalist certificate may be used in legal proceedings if a legally certified deaf interpreter cannot be located.

For more detailed information on certification levels with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., see http://www.rid.org/expl.html. (external link)

Interpreting and translating agencies
Agencies providing interpreting and translating services often provide interpreters in a variety of languages. Some agencies have in-house training programs to improve interpreter skills. However, interpreters provided by agencies are not necessarily legally trained or certified, so it is important to make a careful inquiry into their qualifications.

Telephone and video interpreting
Telephone and video interpreting services are available commercially. Remote interpreter services can be a good choice when a rare language is needed, when a certified interpreter cannot be found locally, or when the hearing must be held before an interpreter can get there. Telephone and video interpreting is allowed by statute for proceedings other than trial. Interpreters used by commercial services are not necessarily legally trained or certified, so it is important to make a careful inquiry into their qualifications and administer an oath before proceeding. A guide for using telephonic interpreters effectively is available here Adobe PDF.

Disciplinary procedure
Interpreters listed on the Roster are subject to discipline from the Director of State Courts Office for ethical violations. For information on filing a complaint against an interpreter, see the services for the public section.

Roster of interpreters in other states

The following are all external links.

Minnesota Roster of Interpreters
Certified interpreters in ASL, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Russian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, French, Korean and Lao

Washington Roster of Interpreters
Certified interpreters in Spanish, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, French, Vietnamese, Bosnian Serbian Croatian (BSC), Khmer, Lao, Cantonese and Arabic

Oregon Roster of Interpreters
Certified interpreters in ASL, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Vietnamese

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