For interpreters

How to get certified

Step 2: Written examination

The written examination is the second step towards achieving certification and is generally offered four weeks after orientation. Interpreter candidates must have completed the two-day orientation to be eligible to take the written examination. The written examination serves as a screening test to determine eligibility to sit for the oral examination.

The test is in English and consists of a multiple-choice test comprised of 135 questions covering general English proficiency, court-related terms and usage, and ethics/professional conduct. A candidate must pass the multiple choice test in order to be eligible to take the oral examination which is considered step 3 in the certification process.

Overview of the Written Examination for Candidates - Council of Language Access Coordinators Adobe PDF

Multiple-choice test description

The multiple-choice test measures interpreter candidates' knowledge of three areas central to the work of a court interpreter at the level of a minimally qualified court interpreter:

1. English language. To function as a professional court interpreter, one indispensable component is a high degree of proficiency in the English language. Accordingly, the written examination assumes a high degree of literacy in the English language and familiarity with a range of language constructions. It tests comprehension of written English vocabulary and idioms.

2. Court-related terms and usage. A second area of knowledge essential to successful professional performance is familiarity with the terminology and procedures of the court system. Accordingly, the written examination also measures recognition of common court-related situations and vocabulary, especially in the area of criminal courts.

3. Ethics and professional conduct. The third area of knowledge required of professional court interpreters encompassed in the written test is general knowledge of standards guiding the performance of duties. Accordingly, the written exam includes questions aimed at measuring candidates' knowledge of ethical behavior and professional conduct.

This exam was developed by the National Center for State Courts Council of Language Access Coordinators (CLAC).

Time allotted for written test: 2 hours and 15 minutes -- Passing score: 108 out of 135 scoring units correct or 80%

2017 written examination dates and locations (Fee: $50 for first-time test takers or $25 for repeat test takers)

Location Dates Application & fee deadline
Milwaukee Friday, April 21 Friday, April 14
Wisconsin Rapids Thursday, July 20 Friday, July 14
Madison Friday, October 20 Friday, October 13

The schedule for the written exam at each location is as follows:

The test begins promptly at the time indicated above. Candidates who arrive more than 15 minutes after the start time will not be allowed to sit for the test.

Registering for the written test

To register for the written test, submit the written examination application and fee of $50 for first-time test takers or $25 for repeat test-takers with a check or money order payable to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the corresponding deadline. Walk-ins are not allowed. A confirmation e-mail with logistical information will be sent to you prior to the testing date. If you do not have an e-mail address, a confirmation notice will be sent by US postal service to the most current mailing address on file.

2017 written exam application MS Word

Retaking the written test

If a candidate does not pass the test and wishes to retake it, he/she must wait a minimum period of six (6) months.

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